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BT 4Bsr^ 






Harlan Givelber 


924 063 745 495 

The original of tliis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 

Photo (y /'. C. Poiil^c. 

JM I'l'lKIE. 





(Dating from iSjy.) 












The greater portion of the contents of this book first ap- 
peard in the " Queenslander " in the form of articles, and when 
those referring to the aborigines were pubished, Dr. Roth, 
author of " Ethnological Studies," etc., wrote the following 
letter to that paper : — 


(By C.C.P.) 

To THE Editor. 

Sir, — It is with extreme interest that I have perused the remarkable 
series of articles appearing in the Queenslander under the above heading, 
and sincerely trust that they will be subsequently reprinted. . . . The 
aborigines of Australia are fast dying out, and with them one of the most 
interesting phases in the history and development of man. Articles such as 
these, referring to the old Brisbane blacks, of whom I believe but one old 
warrior still remains, are well worth permanently recording in convenient 
book form — they are, all of them, clear, straight-forward statements of facts — 
many of which by analogy, and from early records, I have been able to 
con6rm and verify — they show an intimate and profound knowledge of the 
aboriginals with whom they deal, and if only to show with what diligence 
they have been written, the native names are correctly, i.e. , rationally spelt. 
Indeed, X know of no other author whose writings on the autochthonous 
Brisbaneites can compare with those under the initials of C.C.P. If 
these reminiscences are to be reprinted, I will be glad of your kindly bearing 
me in mind as a subscriber to the volume. 

I am. Sir, etc., 
COOKTOWN, ^j/-rf Jti£ust. WALTER E. ROTH. 


My father's name is so well known in Queensland that 
no explanation of the title of this book is necessary. Its 
contents are simply what they profess to be — " Tom Petrie's 
Reminiscences ; " no history of Queensland being attempted, 
though a sketch of life in the early convict days is included 
in its pages. My father's association with the Queensland 
aborigines from early boyhood, was so intimate, and extended 
over so many years, that his experience of their manners, 
their habits, their customs, their traditions, myths, and 
folklore, have an undoubted ethnological value. Reahsing this, 
I determined as far as lay in my power to save from obUvion 
by presenting in book form, the vast body of information 
garnered in the perishable storehouse of one man's — my 
father's — memory. \^ 

To my friend. Dr. Roth, Chief Protector of Aboriginails, 
Queensland, I am indebted for the proper speUing of aboriginal 
words, and I wish to thank him for all his kindly interest 
and help. The spelling thus referred to is that adopted by 
the Royal Geographical Society of London, and followed 
in other continental countries. In this connection I may 
mention that the Brisbane or Turrbal tribe is identical with 
the Turrubul tribe of Rev. W. Ridley. It was my father 
who gave this gentleman the original information concerning 
these particular blacks. 

Scientific names of trees and plants have been obtained 
through the courtesy of Mr. F. M. Bailey, F.L.S., Government 
Botanist, Brisbane. 

Constance Campbell Petrie. 

" Murrumba," North Pine, 
October, 1904. 




As is often the case with the first edition of a work, some errors are 
to be found in this volume, the most serious of which are the substitution 
of the name Palmer for Mcllwraith, on the second line of page 215, and 
the misplacing of the first paragraph on page 280, which should have 
appeared on the preceding page immediately after the fourth paragraph 
on page 278. 

With respect to minor blunders, it will be obvious to every reader 
that "a side " (46), should be "of one side"; "this dark" (63), "his 
dark"; "blackfellow's" (199), "blackfellow"; "knew" (212), "know"; 
"the cheering" (214), "cheering the"; "became" (215), "become"; 
"looped" (280), "lopped"; and "ide" (289), "side." 

C. C. P. 

Dece?nber ig^ igo4, ' 

How Brown's Creek got its Name— Kwltaltawa — " Mi-na Mee-na). 18 


" Tnrrwan'' or Great Man — "Kundri" — Spirit of Rainbow — A Turrwan's 

Great Power — Sickness and Death — Burial Customs — Spirit of thenamo 
L Dead — Murderer's Footprint — Bones of Dead — Discovering TKeTlurderer 

J^ — Revenge — Preparations for a Cannibal Feast — Flesh Divided Out — A 
Sacred Tree — Presented with a Piece of Skin — Cripples and Deformed 
People. 29 




Tom Petrie — Andrew Petrie — Moreton Bay in the Thirties — Petrie's Bight — 
First Steamer in the River— " Tom's " Childhood— " Kabon-Tom"— 
Brisbane or Turrbal Tribe — North Pine Forty- five years ago — Alone 
with the Blacks — Their Trustworthiness and Consideration — Arsenic in 
Flour — Black Police — Shooting the Blacks — Inhuman Cruelty — 
St. Helena Murder — Bribie Island Murder. 


Bonyi Season on the Blackall Range — Gatherings like Picnics — Born Mimics — 
" Cry for the Dead "—Treated like a Prince— Caboolture (Kabul-tur)— 
Superstitions of the Blacks — Climbing the Bonyi — Gathering the Nuts 
— Number at these Feasts — Their Food while there — Willingness to 
Share. 1 1 


Sacrifice — Cannibalism — Small Number killed in Fights — Corrobborees — 
"Full Dress" — Women's Ornaments — Painted Bodies — Burying the 
Nuts — Change of Food — ^Teaching Corrobborees — Making new ones — 
How Brown's Creek got its Name — Kulkarawa — " Mi-na Mee-na). i8 


" Turrwan" or Great Man — "Kundri" — Spirit of Rainbow — A Turrwan's 

Great Power — Sickness and Death— Burial Customs — Spirit of the<»i»«m. 
L Dead — Murderer's Footprint — Bones of Dead — Discovering TBTMurderer 

J\ — Revenge — Preparations for a Cannibal Feast — Flesh Divided Out — A 
Sacred Tree — Presented with a Piece of .Skin — Cripples and Deformed 
People. 29 




How Names were given^" Kippa"-making — Two Ceremonies — Charcoal 
and Grease Rubbed on Body — Feathers and Paint — Exchanging News- 
Huts for the Boys — Instructions given them — "Bugaram" — "Wobbalkan" 
—Trial of the Boys— Red Noses—" Kippa's Dress." 37 


Great Fight — Camping-ground — Yam-sticks — Boys' Weapons — Single-handed 
Fight — Great Gashes — Charcoal Powder for Healing— Same Treatment 
Kill a White man — Nose Pi,erced — Body Marked — "Kippa-ring" — 
" Kakka" — Notched Stick — Images Along the Road-way. 44 


" Fireworks Display"— Warning the Women — Secret Corrobboree — " Look 
at this Wonder" — Destroying the " ICakka" — How Noses were Pierced — 
Site of Kippa-rings" — Raised Scars — Inter-tribal Exchange of Weapons, 
etc. — Removing Left Little Finger — Fishing or Coast Women. j2 


Mourning for the Dead — Red, White, and Yellow Colouring — No Marriage 
Ceremony — Strict Marriage Laws — Exchange of Brides— Mother-in-Law 
— Three or Four Wives — Blackfellows' Dogs — Bat Made the Men and 
Night- Hawk the Women — Thrush which Warned the Blacks — Dreams — 
Moon and Sun — Lightning — Cures for Illness — Pock Marks — Dugong 
Oil. 58 


Food— How It was Obtained — Catching and Cooking Dugong — An Incident 
at Amity Point — Porpoises Never Killed; but Regarded as Friends — 
They Helped to Catch Fish — Sea Mullet and Other Fish— Fishing 
Methods — Eels — Crabs— Oysters and Mussels — Cobra. 67 


Grubs as Food— Dr. Leichhardt and Thomas Archer Tasting Them— Ants- 
Native Bees— Seeking for Honey— Climbing with a Vine — A Disgusting 
Practice— Sweet Concoction— Catching and Eating Snakes— Iguanas and 
Lizards— Another Superstition— Hedgehogs— Tortoises — Turtles. 76 




Kangaroos — How Caught and Eaten— Their Skins— The Aboriginal's Won- 
derful Tracking Powers — Wallaby, Kangaroo Rat, Paddymelon, and 
Bandicoot — 'Possum — 'Possum Rugs — Native Bear — Squirrel — Hunting 
on Bowen Terrace — Glass House Mountain — Native Cat and Dog — 
Flying Fox. 84 


Emus — Scrub Turkeys — Swans — Ducks — Cockatoos and Parrots — Quail — 
Root and Other Plant Food — How it was Prepared — Meals— Water — 
Fire — How obtained — Signs and Signals. 90 


Caiioe-making — Rafts of Dead Sticks — How Huts were Made — Weapon 
Making — Boomerangs — Spears— Waddies — Yam Sticks — Shields — Stone 
Implements — Vessels — Dilly-Bags — String. 97 


Games — " Murun Murun"— " Purru Purru" — " Murri Murri " — " Birbun 
Birbun" — Skipping — "Cat's Cradle" — " Marutchi " — Turtle Hunting as 
a Game— Swimming and Diving— Mimics — " Tambil Tambil. " 109 


Aboriginal Characteristics — Hearing — Smelling — Seeing — Eating Powers — 
Noisy Creatures — Cowards — Property — Sex and Clan "Totems" — "The 
Last of His Tribe." "5 


Folk Lore— The Cockatoo's Nest— A Strange Fisli — A Love Story — The 
Old-woman Ghost — The Clever Mother Spider —A Brave Little Brother 
— The Snake's Journey — The Marutchi and Bugawan — The Bittern's 
Idea of a Joke — A Faithful Bride — The Dog and the Kangaroo — The 
Cause of the Bar in South Passage. 120 


Dutamboi — His Return to Brisbane — Amusing the Squatters — His Subsequent 
Great Objection to Interviews — Mr. Oscar Fristrom's Painting — Duram- 
boi Making Money — Marks on His Body — Rev. W. Ridley — A Trip to 
Enoggera for Information — Explorer Leichhardt — An Incident at York's 
Hollow — An Inquiry Held. 137 




A Message to Wivenhoe Station after Mr. Uhr's Murder— Another Message 
to Whiteside Station— Alone in the Bush— A Coffin Ready Waiting— 
The Murder at Whiteside Station— Piloting " Diamonds" Through the 
Bush — A Reason for the Murder — An Adventure Down the Bay — No 
Water ; and Nothing to Eat but Oysters— A Drink out of an Old Boot 
—The Power of Tobacco— "A Mad Trip." '46 


A Search for Gold — An Adventure with the Blacks — " Bumble Dick" and 
the Ducks— The Petrie's Garden— Old Ned the Gardner— " Tom's " 
Attempt to Shoot Birds— Aboriginal Fights in the Vicinity of Brisbane — 
The White Boy a Witness — " Kippa "-making at Samford — Women 
Fighting Over a Young Man — " It Takes a Lot to Kill a Blackfellow " — 
A Big Fight at York's Hollow— A Body Eaten. 155 


Early Aboriginal Murderers — " Millbong Jemmy" and His Misdeeds — 
Flogged by Gilegan the Flogger — David Petty — ^Jemmy's Capture and 
Death — " Dead Man's Pocket " — An Old Prisoner's Story — Found in a 
Wretched State — Weather-bound with the Murderers on Bribie Island — 
Their Explanation — "Dundalli" the Murderer — Hanged in the Present 
Queen Street — A Horrible Sight — Dundalli's Brother's Death. l66 


The Black Man's Deterioration — Worthy Characters —" Dalaipi " — Recom- 
mending North Pine as a Place to Settle— The Birth of " Murrumba" — 
A Portion of Whiteside Station— Mrs. Griflfen— The First White Man's 
Humpy at North Pine — Dalaipi's Good Qualities — A Chat with Him — 
His Death— With Mr. Pettigrew in Early Maryboro' —A Very Old 
Land-mark at North Pine^ — Proof of the Durability of Blood-wood 
Timber — The Word " Humpybong." 178 


A Trip in 1862 to Mooloolah and Maroochy — Tom Petrie the First White 
Man on Buderim Mountain — Also on Petrie's Creek — A'Specially Faith- 
ful Black — Tom Petrie and his "Big Arm"— Twenty-five Blacks 
Branded — King Sandy one of them — The Blacks Dislike to the Darkness 
— Crossing Maroochy Bar Under Difficulties — Wanangga "Willing" his 
Skin Away — Doomed — A Blaclifellow's Grave Near " Murrumba." 191 




"Puram," the Rain-maker — " Governor Banjo" — His Good Nature — A Ride 
for Gold with Banjo — Acting a Monkey — Dressed Up and Sent a Mes- 
sage — Banjo and the Hose — " Missus Cranky " — Banjo's Family — His 
Kindness to Them — ^An Escape from Poisoning — Banjo's Brass Plate. 201 


Prince Alfred's Visit to Brisbane in i868^A Novel Welcome to the Duke— 
A Black Regiment —The Man in Plain Clothes —The Darkies' Fun 
and Enjoyment — Roads Tom Petrie has Marked — First Picnic Party to 
Humpybong — Chimney round which a Premier Played — Value of Tom 
Petrie's "Marked Tree Lines" — First Reserve for Aborigines in Queens- 
land (Bribie Island) — The Interest It Caused — Father McNab— Keen 
Sense of Humour — Abraham's Death at Bribie — Piper, the Murderer- 
Death by Poison. 210 



Death in 1872 of Mr. Andrew Petrie — A Sketch of His Life taken from the 
Brisbane Courier — Born in 1798 — His Duties in Brisbane — Sir Evan 
Mackenzie — Mr. David Archer — Colonel Barney — An Early Trip to 
Limestone (Ipswich) — Two Instances of Aborigines Recovering from 
Ghastly Wounds. 219 


" Tinker," the Black and White Poley BuUock^Inspecting the Women's 
Quarters at Eagle Farm — A Picnic Occasion— Cutting in Hamilton Road, 
made originally by Women Convicts — Dr. Simpson — His After-dinner 
Smoke — His Former Life — The "Lumber-yard" — The Prisoners' 
Meals — The Chain-gang — Logan's Reign— The "Crow-minders" — 
" Andy." 226 


"Andy's" Cooking — Andrew Pecrie's Walking Stick as a Warning — 
Tobacco-making on the Quiet — One Pipe Among a Dozen — The 
Floggings — " Old Bumble " — Gilligan, the Flogger, Flogged Himself — 
His Revenge — " Bribie," the Basket-maker — Catching Fish in Creek 
Street — Old Barn the Prisoners Worked In — " Hand carts." 233 




The Windmill (present Observatory) — Overdue Vessel — Sugar or "Coal 
Tar"— On the Treadmill— Chain Gang Working Out Their Punish- 
ment—Leg Irons Put On — Watching the Performance — Prisoner's 
Peculiar Way of Walking— " Peg-leg " Kelly— Fifteen or Sixteen Years 
for Stealing Turnips— Life for Stealing a Sheep— Tom Petrie's Les- 
sons—The Convict's "Feather Beds"— First Execution by Hanging- 
Sowing Prepared Rice. ^'^'^ 


Mount Petrie— "Bushed"— The Black Tracker^Relic of the Early Days- 
Andrew Petrie's Tree— Early Opinion of the Timbers of Moreton Bay — 
An Excursion to Maroochy — First Specimens of Bunya Pine — First on 
Beerwah Mountain — "Recollections of a Rambling Life" — Mr. Archer's 
Disappointment — Another Excursion — A Block of Bunya Timber — 
" Pinus Petriaria " — Less Title to Fame— Discoveries of Coal, etc. 247 


Journal of an Expedition to the "Wide Bay River" in 1842 — Discovery of 
the Mary — Extract from Mr. Andrew Petrie's Diary — Encountering the 
Aborigines — Bracefield — Same Appearancfe as the Wild Blacks — Davis — 
"Never Forget His Appearance" — -Could Not Speak His " Mither's 
Tongue" — Blackfellow with a Watch-^Mr. McKenzie's Murdered 
Shepherds — Frazer Island — Mr. Russell Sea-sick. 258 


The Alteration of Historical Names — Little Short of Criminal — Wreck of 
the "Stirling Castle" — Band of Explorers — Sir George Gipps — Trip 
Undertaken in a " Nondescript Boat " — Mr. Russell's Details of the 
Trip — A Novel Cure for Sunstroke — Gammon Island — JoUiffe's Beard. 268 


The Early-time Squatters — Saved by the Natives from Drowning — Mr. Henry 
Stuart Russell— " Tom " Punished for Smoking— " Ticket-of-Leave " 
Men — First Racecourse in Brisbane — Harkaway — Other Early Race- 
courses — Pranks the Squatters Played — Destiny of South Brisbane 
Changed — First Vessel Built in Moreton Bay — The Parson's Attempt to 
Drive Bullocks— A Billy-goat Ringing a Church Bell —The First Elec- 
tion — Changing Sign-boards — Sir Arthur Hodgson — Sir Joshua Peter 
Bell. 274 




"Old Cocky"— His Little Ways— The Sydney Wentworths' "Sulphur 
Crest "— " Boat Ahoy ! "— " Cocky " and the Ferryman—" It's Devilish 
Cold"— "What the Devil are You Doing There ? "—Disturbing the Cat 
and Kittens — Always Surprising People — Teetotaller for Ever — The 
Washerwoman's Anger — Vented His Rage on Dr. Hobbs — Loosing His 
Feathers — Sacrilege to Doubt — "People Won't Believe That " — Governor 
Cairns. 285 


Mr. Andrew Petrie's Loss of Sight— Walked His Room in Agony — Blind for 
Twenty-four Years — Overlooking the Workmen— Never Could (be Im- 
posed Upon — His Wonderful Power of Feeling — Walter Petrie's Early 
Death — Drowned in the Present Creek Street — Only Twenty-two Years 
— Insight into the Unseen — "You Will Find My Poor Boy Down There 
in the Creek" — A Very Peculiar Coincidence — Walter Petrie's Great 
Strength — First Brisbane Boat Races. 295 


Great Changes in One Lifetime — How -Shells and Coral Were Obtained for 
Lime-making — King Island or " Winnam " — Lime-burning on Petrie's 
Bight— Diving Work— Harris's Wharf— A Trick to Obtain " Grog "— 
Reads Like Romance — Narrow Escape of a Diver. 3^4 


Characters in the Way of "Old Hands" — Material for a Charles Dickens — 
"Cranky Tom "—" Deaf Mickey "—Knocked Silly in Logan's Time— 
"Wonder How Long I've Been Buried" — Scene in the Road Which is 
Now Queen Street — A Peculiar Court Case — First Brisbane Cemetery. 309 


TOM PETRIE ... ... ... ... ... ... Frontispiece 









FERRY IN 1850 170- 

"MURRUMBA" 179. 






BRISBANE IN 1858-9 2S0 






Tom Petrie — Andrew Petrie — Moreton Bay in the Thirties — Petrie's Bight — 
First Steamer in the River— " Tom's " Childhood— " Kabon-Tom "— 
Brisbane or Turrbal Tribe — North Pine Forty-five years ago— Alone 
with the Blacks —Their Trustworthiness and Consideration — Arsenic in 
Flour — Black Police — Shooting the Blacks — Inhuman Cruelty — 
St. Helena Murder — Bribie Island Murder. 

=ERHAPS no one now living knows more from 
personal experience of the ways and habits of 
? the Queensland aborigines than does my father — 
Tom Petrie. His experiences amongst these 
fast-djdng-out people are unique, and the reminiscences 
of his early life in this colony should be recorded ; therefore 
I take up my pen with the wish to do the little I can in that 
way. My father has spent his life in Queensland, being but three 
months old when leaving his native land. He was born at 
Edinburgh, and came out here with his parents in the Stirling 
Castle in 1831. He is now the only surviving son of the late 
Andrew Petrie, a civil engineer, who, as every one interested 
knows, had much to do with "Queensland's young days. 

The Petrie family landed first in New South Wales, but 
in 1837 (about twelve years after foundation of Brisbane) 
came on to Queensland in the James Watt, " the first steamer 
which ever entered what are now Queensland waters." The 
late John Petrie, the eldest son, was a boy at the time, and 
" Tom ", of course, but a child. Their father, the founder 
of the family, was attached to the Royal Engineers in Sydney, 



and was chosen to fill the position of superintendent or engineer 
of works in Brisbane. The Commandant in the latter place 
had been driven to petition for the services of a competent 
official, as there seemed no end to the blunders and mistakes 
always being made. The family came as far as Dunwich in 
the James Watt, then finished the journey in the pilot boat, 
manned by convicts, and landed at the King's Jetty — the 
present Queen's Wharf — the only landing place then existing. 

Although my father cannot look back to this day of arrival, 
he remembers Brisbane town as a city of about ten buildings. 
Roughly speaking it was like this : At the present Trouton's 
corner stood a building used as the first Post Office, and joined 
to it was the watchhouse ; then further down the prisoners' 
barracks extended from above Chapman's to the corner 
(Grimes & Petty). Where the Treasury stands stood the 
soldiers' barracks, and the Government hospitals and doctors' 
quarters took up the land the Supreme Court now occupies. 
The Commandant's house stood where the new Lands Office 
is being built (his garden extending along the river bank), 
and not far away was the Chaplain's quarters. The Com- 
missariat Stores were afterwards called the Colonial Stores, 
and the block of land from the Longreach Hotel to Gray's 
corner was occupied by the " lumber yard " (where the 
prisoners made their own clothes, etc.). The windmill 
was what is now the Observatory, and, lastly, a place formerly 
used as a female factory was the building Mr. Andrew Petrie 
lived in for several months tiU his own house was built. The 
factory stood on the ground now occupied by the Post Ofiice, 
and later on the Petrie' s house was built at the present 
corner of Wharf and Queen Streets, going towards the Bight 
(hence the name Petrie's Bight). Their garden stretched 
all along the river bank where Thomas Brown and Sons' 
warehouse now stands, being bounded at the far end by the 
salt-water creek which ran up Creek Street. 

Kangaroo Point, New Farm, South Brisbane, and a lot 
of North Brisbane were then under cultivation, but the rest 
was 'all bush, which at that time swarmed with aborigines. 
So thick was the bush round Petrie's Bight that one of the 
■workmen (a prisoner) engaged in building the house there 


was speared ; he wasn't much hurt, however, and recovered. 

While living at the Bight when a boy my father remembers 
watching the first steamer which ever came up the river 
{the James Watt stayed in the Bay). When she rounded 
Kangaroo Point, with her paddles going, the blacks, who 
were collected together watching, could not make it out, 
and took fright, running as though for their lives. They 
were easily frightened in those days. Father remembers 
another occasion on which they were terrified. His father 
one night got hold of a pumpkin, and hollowing it out, formed 
on one side a face, which he lit up by placing a candle inside, 
the light shining through the openings of the eyes and mouth. 
This head he put on a pole, and then wrapping himself in a 
sheet with the pole, he looked to the frightened blacks' 
imagination for all the world like a ghost, and they could 
hardly get away fast enough. 

From early childhood " Tom " was often with the blacks, 
and since there was no school to go to, and hardly a white 
child to play with, he naturally chummed in with all the 
little dark children, and learned their language, which to 
this day he can speak fluently. A pretty, soft-sounding 
language it is on his lips, but rather the opposite when spoken 
by later comers ; indeed, I do not think that any white man 
unaccustomed to it from childhood can ever successfully 
master the pronunciation. 

" Tom," and his only sister, when children used to hide 
out among the bushes, in order to watch the blacks during 
a fight ; and once when the boy had been severely punished 
by his father for smoking, he ran away from home, and after 
his people had looked everjTwhere, they found him at length 
in the blacks' camp out Bowen Hills way. There was one 
blackfellow at that time these children used to torment 
rather unmercifully : a very fierce old man, feared even by 
the blacks, who believed he could do anything he choose 
in the way of causing death, etc. He was called " Mindi- 
Mindi " (or " Kabon-Tom " by the whites), was the head 
of a small fishing tribe who generally camped at the mouth 
of the South Pine river, and was a great warrior. One 
day the children found him outside their home. They 


teased and called him names in his own tongue till the man 
grew so fierce that he chased the youngsters right inside. 
The girl got under a bed, and " Tom " up on a chair, where 
the blackfellow caught him, and taking his head in his hands 
started to screw his neck. One hand held the boy's chin 
and the other the top of his head, and in a few minutes more 
his life would have ended, but the screams brought the mother 
just in time. Father's neck was stiff for some time after 
this, and the children never tormented old " Kabon-Tom " 
again. They declared always that this man had a perfectly 
blue tongue, and the palms of his hands were quite white. 
It was said that he screwed his own little daughter's neck, 
and thought nothing of such things. However, he and " Tom" 
were generally friends, indeed this is about the only occasion 
on which the boy fell out with a blackfellow. " Kabon-Tom " 
must have been about ninety when he died, and was a very 
white-haired old man. He was found Ijdng dead one day 
in the mud in the Brisbane river. 

Later on in Ufe, when my father employed the blacks, 
they were always kind and considerate about him. They 
are naturally an affectionate people, and he with his good and 
kindly disposition, and his fun — for the blacks do so enjoy 
a joke — ^was very popular with them all. Nowadays it is 
seldom one sees an aboriginal, but some years ago, when they 
would come at times and camp round about here (North 
Pine), it was amusing to see the excitement when they found 
their old friend in the mood for a yarn. To watch their faces 
was as good as a play, and to hear Father talk with them ! — 
it seemed all such nonsense, and many a time has some one 
looking on been convulsed with laughter. A good-natured 
people they surely are, for amusement at their expense 
does not call forth resentment; rather would they join in the 

Queensland is a large country, and the tribes in the North 
differ in their languages, habits, and behefs from the blacks 
about Brisbane. Father was very famiUar with the Brisbane 
tribe (Turrbal), and several other tribes all belonging to 
Southern Queensland who had different languages, but the 
same habits, etc. The Turrbal language was spoken as far 


inland as Gold Creek or Moggill, as far north as North Pine, 
and south to the Logan, but my father could also speak 
to and understand any black from Ipswich, as far north 
as Mount Perry, or from Frazer, Bribie, Stradbroke, and 
Moreton Islands. Of all the blackfellows who were boys 
when he was a boy there is only one survivor ; most of them 
died off prematurely through drink, introduced by the white 

On first coming, nearly forty-five years ago, to North Pine, 
which is sixteen miles by road from Brisbane, the country 
round about was all wild bush, and the land my father took 
up was a portion of the Whiteside run. The blacks were 
very good and helpful, lending a hand to split and fence 
and put up stockyards, and they would help look after the 
cattle and yard them at night. For the young fellow was 
all alone, no white man would come near him, being in dread 
of the blacks. Here he was among two hundred of them, 
and came to no harm. 

When with their help he had got a yard made, and a hut 
erected, he obtained flour, tea, sugar, and tobacco from 
Brisbane, and leaving these rations in the hut, in charge of 
an old aboriginal, went again to Brisbane, and was away 
this time a fortnight. Fifty head of cattle he also left in 
the charge of two young blacks, trusting them to yard these 
at night, etc ; and to enable the young darkies to do this, 
he allowed them each the use of a horse and saddle. On 
his return all was as it should be, not even a bit of tobacco 
missing ! And those who know no better say the aborigines 
are treacherous and untrustworthy ! Father says he could 
always trust them ; and his experience has been that if you 
treated them kindly they would do anything for you. 

On the occasion just mentioned during his absence, a station 
about nine miles away ran short of rations, and the stockman 
was sent armed with a carbine and a pair of pistols to see 
if he could borrow from Father. Arrived at his destination, the 
man found but blacks, and they simply would give him. 
nothing until the master's return. The hut had no doors 
at the time, and yet they hunted for their own food, touching 


A further refutation of the treachery and untrustworthiness 
of the blacks is the following : — One young fellow, learning 
to ride in those days, was thrown several times. My father, 
vexed with the mare ridden, mounted her himself, and giving 
the animal a sharp cut with his riding whip, sent her off at 
full gallop. He carried a revolver in his belt, which he always 
had handy, as often the blacks would get him to shoot 
kangaroos they had surrounded and hunted into a water-hole. 
The mare galloped on, then, stopping suddenly, somehow 
threw her rider Ln spite of his good seat. The first thing he 
remembered afterwards was seeing a company of blacks 
collected roimd him, crying, and one old man on his knees 
sucking his back, where the hammer of the revolver had 
struck. They then carried him to his hut, and in the morning 
he was nothing but stiff after his adventure. And there was 
no white man about ! 

Many a time when the blacks wished to gather their tribes 
together for a corrobboree (dance and song), or fight, they 
would send on two men to inquire of Father which way to 
come so as not to disturb his cattle. This was more than 
many a white man would do, he says. To him they were 
always kind and thoughtful, and he wishes this to be clearly 
understood, for sometimes the blacks are very much blamed 
for deeds they were really driven to ; and of course they 
resented unkindness. For instance, the owner of a station 
some distance away used to have his cattle speared and killed, 
Father would remonstrate and ask the why, and the blacks 
would answer : It was because if that man caught any of 
them he would shoot them down like dogs ! Then they told 
this tale : A number of blacks were on the man's run, scattered 
here and there, looking for wild honey and opossums, when 
the owner came upon them and shooting one young fellow, 
first broke his leg, then another shot in the head killed him. 
The superior white man then hid himself to watch what would 
happen. Presently the father came looking for his son, and 
he was shot ; the mother coming after met the same fate. 

My father knew the blacks well who told him this, and was 
satisfied they spoke truthfully. It may strike the reader why 
did he not make use of his information and bring punishment 


to the offender ? Well, because in those days a blackfellow's 
evidence counted as nothing, and no good would therefore be 
gained, but rather the opposite, as the bitterness would be 
increased, and the blacks get the worst of it. You see, the 
white men had so many opportunities for working harm ; 
at that time several aboriginals were poisoned through 
eating stolen flour, it having been carefully left in a hut with 
arsenic in it. 

To show that the aborigines were not unforgiving, here 
is an example : The squatter before mentioned, who shot 
the blacks, went once to Father to see if he would use his 
influence with the aborigines and get them to go to his station 
and drive wild cattle from the mountain scrub — a difScult 
undertaking. He agreed to see what could be done, on 
condition that the blacks were considerately treated, and 
advised the man to leave all firearms behind, and accompany 
him to their camp, where he would do his best. " Oh, no ! 
I can't do that," was the reply. " If you won't come to 
the camp," replied Father, " they will not understand, and 
won't go ; you need fear nothing ; they will not touch 
you while I'm there." 

After some discussion, the man was persuaded, though 
he evidently was in fear and trembling during the whole 
interview. The blacks agreed to go next day, which they 
did, leaving their gins and pickannies under Father's care 
till their return. In three days they were back, and reported 
they had got a number of cattle from the scrub, and that 
the man — " John Master " they called him — had killed 
a bull for them to eat, and was all right now, not " saucy " 
any more. They added that they had agreed to go back 
again, and strip bark for him. 

This second time the blacks took their women folk and 
children, and were away for two or three weeks working 
for the squatter, cutting bark, etc., and were evidently 
quite contented and happy. However, in the meantime a 
report was got up on the station to the effect that the blacks 
were killing some of the cattle ; so a man was sent to where 
Sandgate now is to ask assistance from the black police, 
who were stationed there. 


These black police were aborigines from New South Wales' 
and distant places, and they, with their white leader, came 
and shot several blacks, the remaining poor things returning 
at once to their friend in a great state, protesting they had 
not touched a beast. Father met the squatter soon after, 
and said to him : " You're a nice sort of fellow ; how could 
you cause those poor blacks to be shot like that ? You 
know perfectly well they did not kUl your cattle." The 
man excused himself by sayiag that it was done without 
his knowledge, that he had a yoimg fellow learning station 
work who got frightened over the blacks, and went for the 
police on his own account. 

Another time, while out riding in the bush, my father 
heard a great row, and a voice calling, " Round them up, 
boys ! " And on galloping up he came upon a number of 
poor blacks — ^men, women, and children — ^all in a mob like 
so many wild cattle, surrounded by the mounted black police. 
The poor creatures tried to run to their friend for protection, 
and he inquired of the officer in charge what was the meaning 
of it all. The officer — ^a white man, and one, by the way, 
who was noted for his inhuman cruelty — ^replied that they 
merely wished to see who was who. But Father knew that if 
he hadn't turned up, a number of the poor things would have 
been shot. Can one wonder there were murders committed 
by the blacks, seeing how they were sometimes treated ? 
This same poUce officer (Wheeler, by name), later on was 
to have been hanged for whipping a poor creature to death, 
but he escaped and fled from the country. It is possible 
he is still alive. His victim was a young blackfeUow, whom 
he had tied to a verandah post, and then brutally flogged 
till he died. 

Three men were once murdered at St. Helena Island 
by aboriginals, and this is the side of the question given 
by " Billy Dingy " (so called by the whites), one of the blacks 
concerned. Billy said that he and two other yoimg men, 
each with his young wife, were taken in a boat by three 
white men, who promised to land them at Bribie Island, 
as it was then the great " bunya season," and the aborigines 
always met there before travelling to the Bunya Mountains 


(or, to be correct, Bon-yi Mountains — the natives always 
pronounced it so). Of the " bon-yi season " I will speak 
later on. 

Well, these men, instead of doing as they had proinised, 
landed at St. Helena, and there set nets for catching dugong, 
acting as though they had not the slightest intention of going 
near Bribie. They also took possession of the young gins, 
paying no heed to Billy, who pleaded for their wives and to 
be taken to Bribie as promised. So Billy, poor soul, didn't 
know what to do, and at last bethought him to kill the men. 
He did it in this way : Some distance from where they were 
camped a cask was sunk in the sand for fresh water, and Billy, 
in broken English, called to one of the men. Bob Hunter 
by name : " Bob, Bob, come quick, bring gun, plenty duck sit 
down longa here." Bob went to Billy all unthinking, and, 
passing the cask in the sand knelt to drink. There was 
Billy's chance, and he took it, striking the man from behind 
with a tomahawk on the back of the head. Bob threw up 
his arm to save himself, only to be cut on the arm, and then 
again on the head, and was killed. Billy then dragged 
him down to the water ; and that was the end of that man. 

On returning to the camp after this " deed of darkness," 
Billy told the gins in his own language of what had happened, 
and that he meant to finish by killing the other two, and they 
then could all get away together. The gins begged of him 
not to kill the others, but his mind was fixed, and remained 
unmoved. Fortune favoured him surely, for he found one 
man alone sitting by a camp fire smoking, and, creeping up 
stealthily behind him, cut open his head with the tomahawk ; 
and this man's body was in turn dragged to the water. 

There now remained but one other, and he at that time 
away in the scrub shooting pigeons. BiUy followed, and, 
watching his opportunity, struck the white man as he stooped 
to go under a vine. This last body was also dragged to the 
water, and that was the end of the three ; and who can say 
the blacks were whoUy to blame ? 

After the white men were thus disposed of, the natives 
all got into the boat and came to the mouth of the Pine 
River, where they left the boat, and walking round on^the 


mainland opposite Bribie, swam across to the island. Bob 
Hunter's body was afterwards recovered, and it had a cut 
on the arm even as Billy described to my father. The other 
bodies were never found, and it was thought they were 
eaten by sharks. 

My father had these three men — Billy and the others — 
working for him afterwards tiU their death, and found them 
all right. He was also alone for days with Billy in the forest 
looking for cedar timber. 

An old man called Gray was killed at Bribie Island (July, 
1849). This is the blacks' version as told to their friend : 
Gray used to go to Bribie with a cutter for oysters ; he had 
a blackboy as a help when gathering the oysters on the bank, 
and he imagined this boy wasn't fast enough in his work, 
so beat him rather unmercifully, being blest with a bad temper. 
The boy escaped and ran away from the oyster bank, swimming 
to the island, and he told the blacks of his ill-treatment. 
They were worked up to resentment, and went across and 
killed Gray. Father says of the latter : "I knew poor old 
Gray well ; he was a very cross old man, and many a slap 
on the side of the head I got from him when a boy." 


Bonyi Season on the Blackall Range — Gatherings like Picnics— Bom Mimics— 
" Cry for the Dead " — Treated like a Prince -Caboolture (Kabul-tur) — 
Superstitions of the Blacks— Climbing the Bonyi — Gathering the Nuts 
— Number at these Feasts — Their Food while there— Willingness to 

^^^AVING given some instances as proof of the 
^ statement that the blacks were murderers or 

quite otherwise, according to the white man's 
treatment of them, I will pass now to their 
native customs, and tell you of the "Bon-yi season." 
" Bon-yi," the native name for the pine, Araucaria Bidwilli, 
has been wrongly accepted and pronounced bunya. To 
the blacks it was bon-yi, the " i " being sounded as an " e " 
in English, "bon-ye." Grandfather (Andrew Petrie) dis- 
covered this tree, but he gave some specimens to a Mr. BidwiU, 
who forwarded them to the old country, and hence the 
tree was named after him, not after the true discoverer. Of 
this more anon. 

The bon-yi tree bears huge cones, full of nuts, which the 
natives are very fond of. Each year the trees will bear a 
few cones, but it was only in every third year that the great 
gatherings of the natives took place, for then it was that 
the trees bore a heavy crop, and the blacks never failed 
to know the season. 

These gatherings were really like huge picnics, the aborigines 
belonging to the district sending messengers out to invite 
members from other tribes to come and have a feast. Perhaps 
fifteen would be asked here, and thirty there, and they 
were mostly young people, who were able and fit to travel. 
Then these tribes would ia turn ask others. For instance, 
the Bribie blacks (Ngunda tribe) on receiving their invitation 
would perchance invite the Turrbal people to join them, 
and the latter would then ask the Logan, or Yaggapal tribe. 


and other island blacks, and so on from tribe to tribe all over 
the country, for the different tribes were generally connected 
by marriage, and the relatives thus invited each other. 
Those near at hand would all turn up, old and young, but 
the tribes from afar would leave the aged and the sick 

My father was present at one of these feasts when a boy 
for over a fortnight. He is the only free white man who has 
ever been present at a bon-yi feast. Two or three convicts 
in the old days, who escaped and lived afterwards with the 
blacks— James Davis (" Duramboi "), Bracefield (" Wandi "), 
and Fahey ("Gilbury"), of course, knew all about it, but 
they are dead now. Father met the two former after their 
return to civihzation, and he has often had a yarn with 
the old blacks who belonged to the tribes they had lived 

In those early days the Blackall Range was spoken of as 
the Bon-yi Mountains, and it was there that Duramboi and 
Bracefield joined in the feasts, and there also that Father 
saw it all. He was only fourteen or fifteen years old at the 
time, and travelled from Brisbane with a party of about 
one hundred, counting the women and children. They camped 
the first night at Bu-yu — ba (shin of leg), the native name for 
the creek crossing at what is now known as Enoggera. 

After the camp fires were made and breakwinds of bushes 
put up as a protection from the night, the party all had 
something to eat, then gathered comfortably round the fires, 
and settled themselves ready for some good old yams, till sleep 
would claim them for his own. Tales were told of what 
forefathers did, how wonderful some of them were in hunting 
and kilUng game, also in fighting. The blacks have lively 
imaginations of what happened years ago, and some of the 
incidents they remembered of their big fights, etc., were truly 
marvellous ! They are also born mimics, and my father has 
often felt sore with laughing at the way they would take 
off people, and strut about, and imitate all sorts of animals. 

When aborigines are collected anywhere together, each 
morning at daylight a great cry arises, breaking through 
the silence : this is the " cry for the dead." Imagine it, falling 


on the stillness after the night ! It comes with the dawn 
and the first call of the birds ; as the Austrahan bush awakens 
and stirs, so do Austraha's dark children — or, rather they 
used to, for all is changed now. It must have been weird, 
that wailing noise and crying ; but one could imagine the 
birds and animals expecting it and listening for it ; and 
the sun in those days would surely have thought something 
had gone wrong, had there been no great cry to accompany 
his arising. Whether the dead were the better for the mourn- 
ing who can say ? But they were always faithfully mourned 
for, each morning, and at dusk each night. It was cr3dng 
and wailing and cursing all mixed up together, and was 
kept going for from ten to twenty minutes, such a noise 
being made that it was scarcely possible to hear oneself speak. 
Each person vowed vengeance on their relative's murderer, 
swearing all the time. To them it was an oath when they 
called a man " big head," " swelled body," " crooked leg," 
etc. ; and so they cursed and howled away, using all the 
" oaths " they could think of. There was never a lack of 
some one to mourn for ; so this cry was never omitted, night 
or morning. 

After the dying down of the cry at daybreak, the blacks 
would have their morning meal, and then, as in the case of 
this journey to the Bon-ja Mountains, when my father accom- 
panied them, they made ready to move forward on their 
way. A blackfellow would shout out the name of the place 
at which they were to meet again that night — this time 
it happened to be the Pine — and off they all went, hunting 
here and there, catching all sorts of animals, getting 
wUd honey, too, and coming into the appointed place that 
night laden with spoil. This same thing went on day by day, 
and Father was treated like a prince among them aU. They 
never failed to make him a humpy for the night, roofed 
with bark or perhaps grass ; while for themselves they didn't 
trouble, unless it rained. The third night they camped 
at Caboolture (Kabul-tur, " place of carpet snakes "), and 
next day started for the Glasshouse Mountains. 

During this journey my father noticed some superstitions 
of the blacks. For instance, going up the spur of a hill a 


dog ran through between the legs of a blackfellow, and the 
man stood stock still and called the dog back, making it 
return through his legs. When asked why, he said they 
would both die otherwise. Then, again, they travelled 
along a footpath, which ran up a ridge, where there was but 
room to walk one by one, and the white boy noticed a half- 
fallen tree leaning across the way. Coming to the tree, 
the first blackfellow paused and puUed a bush from the road- 
side, and, throwing it down on the path, quietly walked 
round the tree, the rest following him. Father asked the 
reason, and the man said that if any one walked under that 
tree his body would swell, and he would die ; he also said 
that he threw the bush down as a warning to the others. 
My father, of course, boy-like, wished to show there was nothing 
in all this, and walked assuredly under the tree, drawing 
attention to the fact that he didn't die. " Oh, but you are 
white," they said. 

It was the same thing always with regard to a fence ; 
the aboriginals would never climb through or under a fence, 
but always over, thinking here too that their body would 
swell and they would die. In the same way a blackfellow 
would rather you knocked him down than have you step 
over him or any of his belongings, because to him it meant 
death. Supposing a gin stepped over one of them — ^naughty 
woman ! — she would be killed instantly. Father has lain 
on the ground, and offered to let men, women, and children 
all step over his body, and if he died they were right in their 
belief ; but, if not, they were wrong. He offered blankets, 
flour, a tomahawk ; but no, nothing would induce them, 
for they said they did not wish to see him die. As he survived 
the great ordeal of walking under a tree, because of being a 
white man, one would think they would risk the other, 
especially with a promised reward in view. But not they. 

Of course, we are speaking of the past ; the blacks one sees 
of late years will go through a fence or under a tree, or any- 
thing ; just as they wUl smoke or drink spirits. They used 
to be fine, athletic men, remarkably^ree^from ^disease, tall, 
well-made and graceful, with wonderful powers of enjoyment ; 


now they are often miserable, diseased, degraded creatures. 
The whites have contaminated them. 

On the fourth day of this journey, about 4 o'clock, the party 
arrived near Mooloolah, at a creek with a scrub on it, and 
all hands fell to making fires for cooking purposes, etc., 
and they stripped some bark to make a hut (" ngudur ") 
for their white friend to sleep in, some placing a " pikki " 
(vessel made from bark) of water ready to his hand, others 
bringing him yams and honey or anything he fancied to eat. 
He had a little flour and tea and sugar with him, which the 
blacks carried, but never touched, leaving them for him. 
They did not think it worth while maldng huts for themselves 
for one night, but just camped alongside the fire with opossum 
rug coverings. 

Arriving at the Blackall Range, the party made a halt at 
the first bon-yi tree they came to, and a blackfellow accom- 
panying them, who belonged to the district, climbed up the 
tree by means of a vine. When a native wishes to climb a 
tree that has no lower branches he cuts notches or steps in the 
trunk as he goes up, ascending with the help of a vine held 
round the stem. But my father's experience has been that 
the blacks would never by any chance cut a bon-yi, affirming 
that to do so would injure the tree, and they climbed with 
the vine alone, the rough surface of the tree helping them. 

This tree they came first upon was a good specimen, 100 
feet high before a branch, and when the native climbing 
could reach a cone he pulled one and opened it with a toma- 
hawk to see if it was all right. (The others said if he did 
not do this the nuts would be empty and worthless, and 
Father noticed afterwards that the first cone was always 
examined before being thrown to the ground.) Then the 
man called out that all was well, and, throwing down the cone, 
he broke a branch, and with it poked and knocked off other 
cones. As they fell to the ground, the blacks assembled below 
would break them up, and, taking out the nuts, put them 
in their dilly-bags. Afterwards they went further on, and, 
camping, made fires to roast the nuts, of which they had 
a great feed — ^roasted they were very nice. 


Next day they travelled on again, till they came to where 
the tribes were all assembling from every part of the country, 
some hailing from the Burnett, Wide Bay, Bundaberg, Moimt 
Perry, Gympie, Bribie, and Frazer Islands, Gayndah, Kilcoy, 
Mount Brisbane, and Brisbane. When all turned up there 
numbered between 600 and 700 blacks. According to some 
people, the numbers would run to thousands at these feasts. 
That may have been so in other parts of the country, but 
not there on the BlackaU Ranges. Each blackfellow belonging 
to the district had two or three trees which he considered 
his own property, and no one else was allowed to climb 
these trees and gather the cones, though all the guests would 
be invited to share equally in the eating of the nuts. The 
trees were handed down from father to son, as it were, and 
every one, of course, knew who were the owners. 

Great times those were, and what lots of fun these children 
of the woods had in catching paddymelons in the scrub 
with their nets, also in obtaining other food, of which there 
was plenty, such as opossums, snakes, and other animals, 
turkey eggs, wild yams, native figs, and a large white grub, 
which was found in dead trees. These latter are as thick as one's 
finger and about three inches long. They were very plentiful 
in the scrubs, and the natives knew at a glance where to look 
for them. They would eat these raw with great relish, 
as we do an oyster, or they would roast them. Then the 
young tops of the cabbage tree palm, and other palms which, 
grew there, served as a sort of a vegetable, and were not bad, 
according to my father. The bon-yi nuts were generally 
roasted, the blacks preferring them so, but they were also- 
eaten raw. 

It will be seen that there was no lack of food of different 
kinds during a bon-yi feast ; the natives did not only Uve 
on nuts as some suppose. To them it was a real pleasure 
getting their food ; they were so hght-hearted and gay, 
nothing troubled them ; they had no bills to meet or wages 
to pay. And there were no missionaries in those days to 
make them think how bad they were. Whatever their faults 
Father could not have been treated better, and when they 
came into camp of an afternoon about four o'clock, from all. 

Photo by Tosca Ltd.] 


\To Jacc f. l6. 


directions, laden with good things — opossums, carpet snakes, 
wild turkey eggs, and yams — ^he would get his share of the 
best — ^as much as he could eat. The turkey eggs were about 
the size of a goose egg, and the fresh ones were taken to the 
white boy, while addled eggs, or those (let me whisper it) 
with Chickens in them, were eaten and relished by the blacks, 
after being roasted in the hot ashes. 

My father always noticed how open-handed and generous 
the aborigines were. Some of us would do well to learn 
from them in that respect. If there were unfortunates 
who had been unlucky in the hunt for food, it made no differ- 
ence ; they did not go without, but shared equally with, 
the others. 


Sacrifice — Cannibalism — Small Number killed in Fights— Corrobborees — 
" Full Dress " — Women's Ornaments — Painted Bodies — Burying the 
Nuts— Change of Food — Teaching Corrobborees — Making new ones — 
How Brown's Creek got its Name — Kulkarawa — " Mi-na " (Mee-na). 

pT has often been given out as a fact that the blacks 
grew so tired of nuts and vegetable foods during a 
.jbon-yi feast that to satisfy the craving that grew 
upon them for animal food, they terminated the 
meeting by the sacrifice of one gin or more. This is 
quite untrue, according to my father. As I have 
shown, the blacks had plenty of variety in the way 
of food during these gatherings, and, besides, on their way 
to the Bon-yi Mountains they travelled along the coast 
as much as was possible, and got fish and oysters as they 
went along. Then, after the feast was all over, they repaired 
again to the coast, where they Uved for some time on the 
change of food. 

The following passage from Dr. Lang's " Queensland," 
issued in 1864, was quoted once by a gentleman (Mr. A. W. 
Howitt), who doubted its accuracy and wished my father's 
opinion on the subject : — " At certain gatherings of some 
tribes of Queensland young girls are slain in sacrifice to 
propitiate some evil divinity, and their bodies likewise are 
subjected to the horrid rite of cannibalism. The yoimg 
girls are marked out for sacrifice months before the event 
by the old men of the tribe." Dr. Lang, says Mr. Howitt, 
gave this on the authority of his son, Mr. G. D. Lang, who, 
as the good doctor puts it, " happened to reside for a few 
months in the Wide Bay distirct." 

My father says there is no truth in this statement ; it is 
just hearsay, as there was no "suchtiur^assa&ifice among 
the Queensland aborigines, neither did they"ever kill any 


one for the purpose of eating them. They were most certainly 
cannibals, however, as they never failed to eat any one 
killed in fight, and always ate a man noted for his fighting 
qualities, or a " turrwan " (great man), no matter how old 
he was, or even if he died from consumption ! It was very 
peculiar, but they said they did it out of pity and consideration 
for the body — they knew where he was then — " he won't 
stink ! " The old tough gins had the best of it ; no one 
troubled to eat them ; their bodies weren't of any importance, 
and had no pity or consideration shown them ! On the other 
hand, for the consumer's own benefit this time, a young,, 
plump gin would always be eaten, or any one dying in good 

I do not mean to infer that the aborigines ate no human 
flesh during a bon-yi feast, for some one might die and be eaten 
at any time, and then, too, they always ended up with a big 
fight, and at least one combatant was sure to be killed. 
People speak of the great numbers killed in fight, but after 
all they were but few, though wounds, and big ones, too, 
were plentiful enough. 

At night during the bon-yi season the blacks would have 
great corrobborees, the different tribes showing their special 
corrobboree (song and dance) to each other, so that they 
might all learn something fresh in that way. For instance, 
a Northern tribe would show theirs to a Southern one, and 
so on each night, till at last when they left to journey away 
again, they each had a fresh corrobboree to take with them, 
and this they passed on in turn to a distant tribe. So from 
tribe to tribe a corrobboree would go travelling for hundreds- 
of miles both North and South, and this explains, I suppose, 
how it was that the aborigines would often sing songs the J 
words of which they did not understand in the least, neither 
could they tell you where they had first come from. 

When about to have a corrobboree, the women always- 
got the fires ready, and the tribe wishing to show or teach 
their special corrobboree to the others, would rig themselves-^ 
out in full dress. This meant they had their bodies painted 
in different ways, and they wore various adornments, which 
were not used every day. Men always had their noses- 


j pierced (women never had), and it was considered a great 
' thing to have a bone through one's nose I This bone was 
generally taken from a swan's wing, but it might be from 
a hawk's wing, or a smedl bone from the kangaroo's leg ; 
and was supposed to be about four inches long. It was only 
worn during corrobborees or fights, and was called the 
" buluwalam." 

In every day Ufe a man always wore a belt or " makamba," 
in which he carried his boomersmg. This belt measured 
from six feet to eight feet in length, and was worn twisted 
round and round the waist. It was netted either from 
'possum or human hair— but only the great men of the tribe 
wore human hair belts. A man could also wear "grass-bugle" 
necklaces (" kulgaripin ") at any time ; these being made 
from reeds cut into Uttle pieces and strung together 
on a string of fibre. But in addition to his everyday dress, 
during a corrobboree a blackfellow would wear round his 
forehead a band made from root fibre, very nicely plaited, 
and painted white with clay ; also the skin of a native dog's 
tail (cured with charcocd and dried in the sun), or, rather, 
a part of one, for one tail made three headdresses when cut 
up the middle. This piece of tail stuck round the head like 
a beautiful yellow brush — the natives called it " gilla," 
and the forehead band " tinggil." Then on his arm kangaroo- 
skin bands were worn, and these had to be made from the 
underbody part of the skin, which was of a much lighter 
colour than the back. Lastly, a man was ornamented 
with swan's down stuck in his hair and beard, and in strips 
up and down his body and legs, back and front ; or, if he 
was an inland black, parrot feathers took the place of the 

; Women wore practically no ornaments except necklaces, 
'and feathers stuck in their short hair in bimches, with bees' 
wax. (The feathers and bees' wax were always ready in their 
■diUies.) Their hair was always kept short, as they were apt 
to tear at each other when fighting. Men's hair grew long, 
and some of the great men had theirs tied up in a knob on the 
top of the head, and when suc^i was the case they wore in 
this knob httle sticks ornamented with yellow featiiers from 


the cockatoo's topknot. The feathers were fastened to the 
ends of the sticks with bees' wax, and these sticks were stuck 
here and there in the knob of hair, as Japanese places Uttle 
fans ; and they looked quite nice. 

When a good fire was raging the gins aU sat in rows of three 
or four deep behind the fire. The old and married gins 
would have an opossum rug folded up between their thighs, 
which they beat with the palms of their hands, and so kept 
time with the song they sang. The young women beat 
time on their naked thighs. They held the left wrist with 
the right hand, and then, with the free hand open, slapped 
their thighs, making a wonderful noise and keeping excellent 
time. A pair of blackfellows standing up in front of the gins 
between them and the fire, would beat two boomerangs 
together, and these men were in " full dress," as were those 
who danced on the other side of the fire. First these latter 
stood some distance off in the dark, but so soon as the singing 
and beating of time began they would dance up to the others. 

The men and women learning the corrobboree stood behind 
the rows of gins seated on the ground, and two extra men, 
other than those with boomerangs, stood placed Hke 
sentinels before the women, with torches in their 
hands, and they were generally also strangers learning. 
The torches were fashioned from tea-tree bark, and made 
a splendid blaze, aiding the fire in its work of lighting up the 
dancers for the benefit of those concerned. Some few 
women would dance, but they kept rather apart in front of 
the others, and their movements were different to those 
of the men — somewhat stifEer. Always there were two or 
three funny men among the dancers, men who caused mirth 
and amusement by their antics — even the blacks had members 
who could " act the goat." 

The aborigines painted their bodies according to the tribe 
to which they belonged, so in a corrobboree or fight they were 
recognised at once by one another. In the foriner there 
would perhaps be ever so many different tribes mixed up, 
for they might all know the same dance. Father says it 
was a grand sight to see about 300 men at a time dancing 
in and out, painted all colours. There they would be, men 


white and black, men white and red, men white and yellow, 
and yet others a shiny black with just white spots all over 
them, or, in place of the spots, rings of white round legs and 
body, or white strips up and down. Yet again there were 
those who would have strange figures painted on their dark 
skins, and no matter which it was, one or the other, they were 
all neatly, and even beautifully, got up. There they would 
dance with their head-dress waving in the air — the swan's 
down, the parrot feathers, or the little sticks with the yellow 
cockatoo feathers. And, of course, the rest of the dress 
added to the spectacle — the native dogs' tails round their 
heads, the bones in their noses, and the various belts and 
other arrangements. 

The dancers would keep up these gaieties for a couple of 
hours and then all would return to camp, where they settled 
down to a sort of meeting somewhat after the style of a 
Salvation Army gathering. One man would stand up and 
start a story or lecture of what had happened in his part 
of the country, speaking in a loud tone of voice, so that 
all could hear. When he had finished, another man from 
a different tribe stood forth and gave his descriptions, and 
so on till all the tribes had been represented. Then perhaps 
a man of one tribe would accuse one from another of being 
the cause of the death of a friend, and this would lead to a 
challenge and fight. 

Things would be kept going sometimes up to midnight, 
when quiet reigned supreme again tiU the daybreak cry for 
the dead. And if this was a strange sound when two or 
three tribes were gathered together, what must it have been 
coming from all these many peoples assembled for a bon-yi 
feast. It would start perhaps by one old man wailing out, 
and then in another direction some one would answer, then 
another would take up the cry, and so on, till the different 
crying and chanting of all the different tribes rose on the 
air, with the loud " swears " and threats of what they would 
do when the enemy was caught, relieving the wailing, 

So the days went on for a month or more, and the blacks 
employed their time in various ways ;") some would hunt, 


while others made weapons preparing for the great fight 
which always came off at the finish When a time for this 
was fixed, all would repair to an open piece of country and 
there would keep the fight going for a week or so Of the way 
this was managed I will speak another time. 

At the finish of the great fight the tribes would start oft 
homewards, parting the very best of friends with each other, 
and carrying large supplies of bon-yi nuts with them. The 
blacks of the district sought out a damp and boggy place — 
soft mud and water, with perhaps a spring — and buried their 
nuts there, placed in dilly-bags. Then off they went to the 
coast, living there on fish and crabs for the space of a month, 
when they returned, and, digging up the nuts, had another 
feast, relishing them all the more no doubt because of the 
change to the seaside ! The nuts when unearthed would 
have a disagreeable, musty smell, and would be all sprouting, 
but when roasted were improved greatly. The blacks from 
afar would also go to the coast if they had friends there 
who invited them, and they would be glad of a corrobboree 
that took them seawards, if only for the one reason that 
they might have a change of food. 

I omitted to mention that on the way to these feasts 
the blacks in those days would often catch emus in the vicinity 
of the Glass House Mountains, and also get their eggs. This 
my father knew from what was told him, though none were 
found when he accompanied them. The feathers the gins 
used to stick in their hair on state occasions. 

At any time when a certain tribe had learnt a new corrob- 
boree they would take the trouble to go even a long distance 
in order to pass it on. They first sent messengers — two 
men and their gins — to say they had learnt, or perhaps made, 
a fresh song and dance, and were coming to teach it. They 
would very likely stay a week and then go home again, or 
perhaps a number of tribes would all congregate. Father 
has seen about five hundred aborigines at a corrobboree on 
Petrie's Creek, and they came from all parts — some from 
the far interior. Some of them there had never seen a 
boat before, and made a great wonder of it, looking it over 
and examining it everywhere. 


Father knew an old Moreton Island man, a great character, 
head of that tribe, who was a good hand at making corrob- 
borees. He would disappear at times to a quiet part of 
the island (the others saying he had gone into the ground), and 
when he reappeared he had a fresh song and dance to impart. 
The blacks would sing sometimes of an incident which had 
happened, and in the dance make movements to carry out 
the song ; for instance, if they sang of rowing they moved 
in the dance hke an oarsman At times if the words were 
decided upon, the whole tribe would suggest movements 
which best carried them out One of the songs my father 
can sing was composed by a man at the Pine, and was based 
upon an incident which really happened. Father heard 
of the happening at the time, and afterwards learnt the cor- 
robboree. Here is the whole story : — 

Three boats went out in winter time turtling from Coochi- 
mudlo Island (" Kutchi-mudlo " — ^red stone). It was after 
the advent of the whites, and the natives wanted the tmrtles 
for sale, not for their own use. In one of the boats was a man 
called Bobbiwinta, who was always successful in his ventures 
after turtle, being very good at diving, and clever in handling 
the creatures. Presently this boatload espied a turtle, and 
gave chase, and whenever Bobbiwinta got a chance he jumped 
overboard, diving after it. However, it was an extra big 
one, and he could not manage to bring it up. Those watching 
above saw bubbles rise to the surface, and knew he was blow- 
ing beneath the water to cause the bubbles, so that some one 
would come down to his assistance. Two more men jumped 
in at this, and catching the turtle, they managed to turn him 
over, and bring him alongside the boat. Others in the boat 
got hold of the creature,and between them all it was hauled on 
board. Then the men in the water got in. 

It was not till now, when the excitement was passed, that 
they found a man was missing — Bobbiwinta. All looked 
and could see him nowhere ; men jumped overboard and 
searched, and the other boats coming up helped, but to no 
avail, he was gone. A great waiUng and crying arose then, 
and by-and-bye a shark was seen floating quietly about, 
and all remaining hope went. 


What seemed to strike the blacks was that they had seen 
no sign of the man, not even a particle of anything — it was 
such a complete disappearance. Natives are exceedingly 
tender-hearted in anything Uke this, and they were dreadfully 
cut up. Bobbiwinta's wife was in one of the boats. All 
camped that night at Kanaipa (towards the south end of 
Stradbroke), and next morning the beach was searched and 
searched, but nothing, not even a bone, was found. 

The story of Bobbiwinta's mysterious disappearance was 
told from tribe to tribe ; the natives seemed as though 
they could never get over the sadness of it. One night 
the man already mentioned belonging to the Pine was supposed 
to have had a dream, in which a corrobboree came to him des- 
criptive of the event. The song ran as though the man 
from under the water, appealed for help — pitifully, pleadingly, 
all in vain. This corrobboree was sung and danced everywhere, 
and years afterwards the mere mention of it was enough to 
cause tears and wailings. The words had this meaning: 
" My oar is bad, my oar is bad ; send me my boat, I'm sitting 
here waiting," and so on, sung slowly. Then quickly, " dulpai- 
i-la ngari kimmo-man " (jump over for me friends), and so to 
the finish. The following is the first portion of the song. 



i in;fj; ;j i j 


i /vj J J J IJ J J -^ I J 

d A A 

nfo ku n^ul nfs -^ ft u/ji-^^ «^rf/-/* tn—en -• li -y* 


J J J J I J J ^ 

L f If ' 

ial — lo CHr'-iiu,tf-tfl tfL -r 

Another good corrobboree was based on an incident which 
happened when my father was a boy. This time it had refer- 

* Music arranged by W. A. Ogg. 


ence to a young gin — Kulkarawa — ^who belonged to the 
Brisbane or Turrbal tribe. A prisoner, a coloured man (an 
Indian), Shake Brown by name, stole a boat, and making 
off down the bay, took with him this Kulkarawa, without her 
people's immediate knowledge or consent. The boat was 
blown out to sea, and eventually the pair were washed ashore 
at Noosa Head — or as the blacks called it then, " Wantima," 
which meant " rising up," or " cUmbing up." They got 
ashore all right with just a few bruises, though the boat was 
broken to pieces. After rambling about for a couple of 
days, they came across a camp of blacks, and these latter 
took Kulkarawa from Shake Brown, saying that he must 
give her up, as she was a relative of theirs ; but he might 
stop with them and they would feed him. So he stayed 
with them a long time, and the bon-yi season coming round, 
he accompanied them to the Blackall Range, joining in the 
feast there. 

Before the bon-yi gathering had broken up. Shake Brown, 
grown tired of living the life of the blacks, left them to make 
his way to Brisbane. He got on to the old Northern Road 
going to Durundur, and followed it towards Brisbane. Coming 
at length to a creek which runs into the North Pine River, 
there, at the crossing, were a number of Turrbal blacks, 
who, recognising him, knew that he was the man who had 
stolen Kulkarawa. They asked what he had done with her, 
and he replied that the tribe of blacks he had fallen in with 
had taken her from him, and that she was now at the bon-yi 
gathering with them. But this, of course, did not satisfy 
the feeling for revenge that Shake Brown had roused when 
he took off the young gin from her people, and they turned 
on him and killed him, throwing his body into the bed of 
the creek at the crossing. A day or two later, men with 
a bullock dray going up to Durundur with rations, passing 
that way, came across Brown's body lying there, and they 
sent word to Brisbane, also christening the creek Brown's 
Creek, by which name it is known to this day. 

Kulkarawa, living with the Noosa blacks, fretted for her 
people, and she made a song which ran as follows : " Oh, 
flour, where oh where are you now that I used to eat ? Oh, 


oh, take me back to my mother, there to be happy, and roam 
no more." She evidently missed the flour which her own 
tribe got from the white people. The Noosa blacks made a 
dance to suit the song, and the corrobboree was considered 
a grand one. 

Kulkarawa, after living with the Noosa blacks for about 
two years, was at length brought back to her own people. 
Father happened to be out at the Bowen Hills or " Barrambin" 
camp, with two or three black boys, looking for some cows, 
at the time she arrived. The strange blacks bringing her, 
both went and sat down at the mother's hut without speaking, 
and the parents of the young gin, and all her friends, started 
crying for joy when they saw her, keeping the cry going for 
some ten minutes in a chanting sort of fashion, even as they 
do when mourning for the dead. Then a regular talking 
match ensued, and Kulkarawa was told all that had happened 
during her absence, including the finding and murder of 
Shake Brown (or " Marri-dai-o " the blacks called him), 
on his way to Brisbane. Then she told her news, and Father 
heard afterwards again from her own lips of her experiences. 

The Noosa blacks introduced the corrobboree at the 
" Barrambin " camp, and so it was sung and danced all 
round about, spreading both near and far. 

In the song of a corrobboree there were not generally 
many words, but these were repeated over and over again 
with different shades of expression. Once my father had the 
honour of being the subject of a corrobboree; they sang 
of him as he was seen sailing with a native crew through the 
breakers over Maroochy Bar. The incident and its danger 
I will mention later. The song described the way he threw 
the surf from his face, etc. Who knows but what it hves 
somewhere yet, for it was possible for a corrobboree to travel 
to the other end of the continent. 

A Manila man (who afterwards died at Miora, Dunwich, 
and whose daughter lives there now) once taught a song 
he knew to the Turrbal blacks. They did not understand 
its meaning in the least, but learnt the words and the 
tune, and it became a great favourite with all. My father 
also picked it up when a boy, and it has since soothed to sleep 



in turn all his children and two grandchildren. Indeed Baby 
Annour (the youngest of the tribe) at one time refused to 
hear anything else when his mother sang to him. "Sing 
Mi-na " (Mee-na), he would say, if she dared ;try to vary the 
monotony. Here is the song : 

~) Moderate 




V J/c fTff lo-i-an-dtt (o-i'on-dtf mi'^^ mgr-iian-d^ - ^er~n 

tfmr-iuajt'^'jfta''ni ieo-JiO-jf - JiQ-ni ditm-an-ifa-ibim 'ttt' Hfe! 

In learning a fresh corrobboree some of the young fellows 
were very smart, and, as to going to a dance, they were just 
as keen about it as many white boys are. 

* Music arranged by W. A Ogg. 


" Turrwan" or Great Man— "Kundri" — Spirit of Rainbow — A Turrwan's 
Great Power — Sickness and Death— Burial Customs — Spirit of the 
Dead — Murderer's Footprint — Bones of Dead — Discovering the Murderer 
— Revenge — ^Preparations for a Cannibal Feast — Flesh Divided Out — A 
Sacred Tree — ^Presented with a Piece of Skin- — Cripples and Deformed 

^EFORE going further, it is necessary for me 
to tell you something of a " turrwan " or 
" great man." Well, a " turrwan " was one 
who was supposed to be able to do anj^hing. 
He could fly, kill, cure, or dive into the ground, and 
come out again where and when he liked ; he could 
bring or stop rain, and so on — all by means of the 
" kundri," a small crystal stone, which he made the gins 
and others believe he carried about inside him, being able 
to bring it up at will by a string and swallow again ! But 
my father has seen these stones, and they were really carried 
in small grass " diUys," under the arm, and were attached 
with bees' wax to a string made from opossum hair. These 
stones were generally obtained from deep pools, where they 
were dived for. The natives believed in a personality they 
called " Taggan " (inadvertently spelt " Targan " in Dr. 
Roth's Bulletin, No. 5), who seemed to be the spirit of the 
rainbow, and he it was who was responsible for these 
stones or crystals. Wherever the end of the rainbow touched 
the water, there they said crystals would be found— they 
knew where to dive for them. 

Several men possessing these stones belonged to every 
tribe ; they were never young men, but those who had been 
through many fights, and had had experience. Each one 
was noted for something special. For instance, one was a 
man who could bring thunder, another could cure, and so 
on. Whenever there was a storm or a flood, the aborigines 


always blamed a " turrwan " of another tribe for sending 
it. Supposing the storm came from the north, it was a 
turrwan from a tribe in the north who was responsible, or if 
from the south they blamed a southern tribe. 

When any one was ill, he was taken to a " turrwan " 
to be cured, and the latter would make believe that he sucked 
a stone from the sick person's body, saying that was the 
cause of the mischief, another " turrwan " of another tribe 
having put it into him. For whenever any one was ill, 
no matter under what circumstances, a stranger " turrwan " 
(or rather his spirit) had most surely seen the afflicted one, 
and thrown the " kundri " at him. And a spirit could fly, 
and thus do damage on a man miles away. If found out too 
late nothing could save him. 

Aborigines do not believe they ever die a natural death ; 
death is always caused through a " turrwan " of another 
tribe. When a man dies, they think that at some previous 
time he has been killed before without its being known 
to any one, even himself. Verily a strange belief. They 
think he was killed with the " kundri " and cut up into pieces, 
then put together again ; afterwards dying by catching a 
cold, or, perhaps, being killed in a fight. The man who killed 
him then is never blamed for the deed ; "he had to die, 
you see ! " But they blame a man from another tribe 
for the real cause of death, and do their best to be revenged ; 
this causes all their big fights. They manage to decide on 
the murderer — ^how I will tell you again. 

If any one was ill in camp, and a falling star was seen, 
there would be a great crying and lamenting. To the natives 
it was a sign that the sick one was " doomed." The star 
was \he fire-stick of the turrwan, which he dropped as he flew 
away after doing the mischief. 

Talking of how the aborigines regard death, brings us 
to their burial customs. Whenever the death of an aboriginal 
took place, all friends and relatives would gather together 
and cry, each man cutting his head with a tomahawk, or 
jobbing it with a spear, till the blood ran freely down his 
body, and the old women did the same thing with yamsticks, 
while the young gins cut their thighs with sharp pieces of 


flint stone till their legs were covered with blood. In the 
meantime a couple of men would get some sheets of tea-tree 
bark on which to place the body, and if the corpse was not 
to be eaten, it would be wrapped up in this bark and tied 
round and round with string made from the inside of wattle 
bark. The feet were always left exposed. Then two old 
men would carry the body, those mourning following behind 
continually crying all the time. You could hear their cry 
a long way off. They would go some distance till they 
came to a tree (generally in a gully out of sight) with a fork 
in the stem, six or eight feet from the ground. Here they 
would pause and seek about for two suitable forked sticks 
to match this tree, and these they fixed in the ground at a 
little distance from it, making the forks correspond in height 
with that of the tree. Next two sticks cut about seven feet long 
would be placed from the forked sticks to the tree fork, 
and from this three-cornered foundation a platform would 
be made with sticks put across and bound with the wattle- 
bark string. All being ready, the body would be lifted up on 
to this platform, which, without fail, would be made so that 
when the head was placed next the tree the feet would point 
always towards the west. 

After this, a space in the ground underneath the body 
about four feet square would be cleared bare of grass, and 
at one side of it a small fire would be built. This was that 
the spirit of the dead man might come down in the night 
and warm himself at the fire, or cook his food. If the body 
was that of a man, a spear or waddy would be placed ready, 
so that the spirit might go hunting in the night ; if a woman 
then a yamstick took the place of the other weapon, and 
her spirit could also hunt, or dig for roots. These weapons 
were left that the spirits might obtain food ; it was not sup- 
posed that they would ever fight. 

After finishing these preparations, the blacks would go 
away lamenting, and the body was left in peace. Then the 
day after burial — if it could be called burial — an old " turr- 
wan " would go without the knowledge of the others, back 
to where this platform stood erect with its burden, and 
stealthily he would print on the cleared ground beneath a 


mark like a footprint with the palm of his hand. After 
his departure, two women — old women (near relatives of the 
deceased, a mother and her sister if alive) — ^would appear 
on the scene. They, of course, would see this mark, and 
at once would imagine that the murderer had been there 
and left his footprint behind him. Strange to say, too, 
they would recognise to whom the footprint belonged ! 
So back they went to the others, and told them all who was 
the murderer — it was generally some one they had a spite 
against in another tribe — and there would be no question 
or doubt. 

After that no one went near the body till the flesh had 
dropped off, when two old women, relatives, again went, 
and, taking it down, they would proceed to separate the bones 
from each other. Certain of these were always religiously 
put aside and kept — they were the skull, leg, arm, and hip 
bones — ^while those of the ribs and back, etc., were burnt. 
The bones kept were put in a diUy, and so carried to the camp, 
and this dilly, with its sacred contents, accompanied the 
old woman relative on all her wanderings for months after- 
wards. In the meantime, however, the following happened : — 

At the camp a fire would be made some fifty or one hundred 
yards from the huts, and all hands were called to come and 
witness the performance. The bones were cleaned and rubbed 
with charcoal, and one of the old gins who discovered the 
murderer's footmark would sit in the middle, the rest sur- 
rounding her, and she would take the hip bones, and, with 
a stone tomahawk, would chop them, accompanying each 
chop with the name of some black of another tribe sung in 
a chanting fashion. Now and again the bone would crack, 
and each time it did this the woman happened to call the name 
of the man she had told them of, who had left his footprint 
behind on the cleared ground, and the rest would exchange 
glances, saying he must be the guilty party. 

Father has been present on these occasions, and the blacks 
would always draw his attention to the unquestionableness 
of the conclusion arrived at. Nothing could persuade them 
that it was not fair, and should they come across the poor 
unfortunate singled out his death was a certainty. Perhaps 


some night he would be curled up asleep in the dark, when 
suddenly he was pounced upon and put out of existence ; 
or perhaps he would be innocently engaged at some occupation 
when a dark form, sneaking up behind him, would send a 
spear through his skull, or otherwise do the deed. A death 
always roused great desire for revenge, and the friends of 
the deceased would watch and plan in every way till at last 
their end was accomplished. And even when revenged 
like this, many a big fight took place over a death. For 
the tribe to which the dead man had belonged would send a 
challenge to the tribe of the man held responsible for the 
deed, by two messengers, carrying a stick marked with 
notches cut in it. This stick served to show that there 
were a great number of blacks, and that they were in earnest. 
The messengers suggested a place of meeting for the fight, 
and after staying perhaps a week would return to their friends, 
who would look forward to the affray. 

I have spoken of the blacks as cannibals, mentioning 
that it was only ordinary men and women of no condition 
who were buried. Here is how a cannibal feast would be 
proceeded with : First, the body was carried about a mile 
away from the camp, and there placed on sheets of tea-tree 
bark near a fire. I may mention that it was a practice 
with the aboriginal to keep his body (minus the head) free 
from hair, by singeing himself with a torch. It was similar 
to the habit of shaving. Should an aboriginal be unsinged 
he was unkempt, as a white man is who has not shaved. 
He could do his own arms and hands, etc., but would ask 
the assistance of others for the back. The singeing over, 
he rubbed his body with charcoal and grease, feeling then 
beautifully clean and nice. So perhaps it was this habit 
which made the aborigines singe their dead for the last time 
before devouring them. 

A " turrwan " would take a piece of dry sapwood from 
an old tree, and lighting it well by the fire would keep knocking 
off the red ashes till it burnt with a flame like a candle. With 
this he would give the body an extra good singeing all over, 
excepting the head, until the skin turned from black to a 
light brown colour. Then the body would be rubbed free 


of any singed particles, and turned face downwards, and three 
or four men, who had been solemnly standing at some distance 
from the others, would slowly advance, one by one, singing 
a certain tune, to the body. Each of these men held a shell 
or stone knife in his hand, and the first would start by sUtting 
the skin open from the head down the neck, then retiring ; 
his place would be taken by the second man, who would 
carry the opening on down the body, the third man down 
the legs, and so on till the skin was opened right to the heels, 
and would peel off in one whole piece. 

During all this performance never a joke nor a laugh 
was heard, but everything was carried out with the utmost 
quietude and solemnity. The body would be cut up when 
skinned, and the whole tribe, sitting round in groups in a 
circle, each group possessing a fire, would watch expectantly 
for their share of the dainty. One can imagine how they 
would look forward to the feast as time advanced, and doubt- 
less they watched with hungry eyes as the old men divided 
out the flesh in pieces to each lot. Immediately on grabbing 
their portion, each group would roast and devour it, and 
in no time " all was over and done." The heart and waste 
parts would be buried in a hole dug alongside the fire, and 
this interesting hole was marked by three sticks driven into 
the ground, standing about a foot high, and bound round 
with grass rope. The hair, ears, nose, and the toes and 
fingers, without the bones, would be left on the skin, which 
was hung on two spears before a fire to dry. Sometimes 
it would take some time to dry, and would have to be spread 
out each day ; then, when ready, it would be blackened with 
charcoal and grease. After that the skin was folded up 
and put into a " diUy," and so carried everywhere by a relative 
with the certain bones that were kept. 

These remains were always carried by a woman relative, who 
kept them for six months or so, when she tired of the burden, 
or there was a fresh one ready to carry ; and so a hollow 
tree or a cave in a rock was used as a depository. When my 
father came to North Pine there was a hollow gum tree 
near where he settled, full of skins and bones of the dead. 
This tree was burnt by bush fires, so, though part of it may 


still be seen, there is, of course, no trace of anything exciting 
in the way of remains. A tree used in this way was considered 
sacred, or " dimmanggali," and no one dare trifle with its 
contents. The remains were not just thrown into the hollow, 
but must be carefully left in dillies, and thus hung on forked 
sticks in the tree. A hollow tree was looked for with a hole 
in the trunk several feet from the ground (it must not open 
right down), or else a hollow one with no opening would be 
cut out as desired. The idea was to place the forked sticks 
in the earth, so that they stood upright, with the bags hanging 
on them. 

When my father was quite a boy he was sent once to 
look for some strayed cows to York's Hollow (the present 
Brisbane Exhibition Ground), which was all wild bush, and 
was a great fighting ground for the blacks. At the time of 
which I speak the blacks were all camped there, and when 
young " Tom " arrived on the scene he came across an old 
gin crying, and going up to her asked what was the matter. 
The woman replied that her "narring" (son) had been killed 
and pulling an opossum-skin covering from her dilly, dis- 
played his skin. It made the boy start to see the hair of 
the head and beard, the fingers, etc., all on the skin, and 
going home he told Grandfather about it. The latter offered 
flour, tea, sugar, tobacco, a tomahawk, anything for the 
skin ; but the old woman would not part with it. Her 
husband, man-like, was more willing, however, and after 
some weeks turned up with a nice little new " dilly," con- 
taining four pieces of his son's skin, two from the breast, 
and two from the back, and this he presented to " Tom " 
for his father. The scars or markings could be seen on these 
pieces, which were as thick almost as a bullock's hide. 

The old blackfellow took pride in giving this present, 
and aiter so honouring " Tom," caUed him his son, and all 
the tribe looked upon the boy as such, and from that time 
forth he was considered a great man or " turrwan," no one 
saying him nay, but doing anything for him and letting 
him know all their secrets. It got to be known all over 
the place from tribe to tribe that he had been presented 
with portions of Yabba's son's skin, and so he was received 


everjTwhere with open arms as it were, for Yabba was well 
known and respected. 

Women relatives of a dead person, possessing a skin, 
might give small portions from the back or breast to their 
friends of other tribes, when meeting them. The receivers 
would lament again over the skin when in their own camp, 
but having been given this, they felt quite safe about their 
men relations visiting the tribe of the deceased, for this giving 
of skin meant that the recipient was not connected in any 
way with suspicion. 

The bodies of children were never skinned, they were placed 
up on trees unless in extra good condition, when they would 
be eaten. Very young children or babies were roasted 
whole, and women generally ate them. In some instances 
babies were killed at birth, and then eaten by the old women 
— for instance, if the mother died, for they blamed the child. 

Cripples or deformed people were met with often enough 
among the aborigines, some with withered Umbs, and these 
were invariably treated kindly, as indeed were also all 
old people. Aborigines would live to be seventy or eighty 
years of age, and if at any time they were unable to fend 
for themselves, their relatives took them in hand, treating 
them with great respect and veneration. However, at death 
the bodies of cripples were just shoved anyhow into hollow 

An aboriginal camp was always shifted immediately 
whenever a death took place, and the trees round about 
where a native had died, or where he had been eaten, would 
be nicked as a sign of what had taken place. 


How Names were given — " Kippa"-making — Two Ceremonies— Charcoal 
and Grease Rubbed on Body — Feathers and Paint — Exchanging News — 
Huts for the Boys — Instructions given them — "Bugaram" — "Wobbalkan" 
—Trial of the Boys— Red Noses— " Kippa's Dress." 

pBORIGINES seldom had names alike, indeed they 
never had in the same camp. In that respect 
athey surely were more original than we are with 
our " Tom, Dick, and Harry," handed down 
from father to son. When an aboriginal child was about a 
week old, the mother would, after consulting with her 
friends, give it some pet name. The child would be called 
by the name of some animal, fish, or bird, or perhaps by 
that of a hollow log, or Daylight, Simdown, Wind, Flood, 
Come-quick, Fetch-it, Go-away, Left-it, and so on. The 
name, if the child was a girl, would remain with her her Ufe 
through, but a boy's name was afterwards changed. 

During a man's life he would possess three different names 
— ^the first as a child, the second when he was transformed 
into a " kippa " (young man), and again the final when he 
became a grown man (" mallara ") with a beard. This 
latter name was decided by men of his own tribe, and no 
special ceremony was held, but friends would consult about 
it during some corrobboree. No man was allowed to marry 
until he had come to possess his last name. 

Aboriginal boys were transformed into " kippas" in this wise : 
— When they were a certain age, say from twelve to fifteen 
years, they went through a long ceremony, at the end of 
which they were looked on as young men. There were two 
different ways in which this ceremony might be carried 
out ; the simple or " Kurbingai " was resorted to when 
there were not so many boys to be put through, and these 
" kippas " did not take as high a rank as those who had 


gone through the greater ceremony, in the same way as a 
boy nowadays, who has been to an inferior school cannot 
be expected to be as capable as another who has gone to a 
superior one. And often a boy would go through the greater 
ceremony when he had already been initiated at the " Kur- 
bingai." •'* 

The simpler ceremony was carried out as follows : — When 
a certain tribe wished to convert their boys into kippas, 
they first picked two men and sent them as messengers 
to a neighbouring tribe to see how many boys there were 
in that tribe ready to be initiated. Arriving in the near 
neighbourhood of the camp, these men paused and decorated 
themselves. First a mixture of charcoal and grease was rubbed 
all over the body from head to foot, and this produced an 
extra glossy blackness. The aboriginals obtained plenty 
of grease from iguanas, snakes, fish, dugong, etc., and it was 
carried about with them in their " dillies " always, rolled 
up in nice soft pieces of grass. They ate this grease at times, 
but apart from that must have used a great deal of it, for, 
whenever they wanted to " spruce up," they always rubbed 
themselves with grease and charcoal. It was evidently to 
them what our bath is to us — they felt nice and fresh, and 
dressed, as it were. The charcoal was the same as that used 
dry to rub on wounds, and will be referred to again. It 
was a very fine and soft powder, and mixed up well with 
the grease. When children were born, they were rubbed 
almost immediately with this mixture — it made them blacker 
than they would otherwise have been. 

To return to the two messengers. After anointing 
themselves in this fashion they would stick either feathers or 
swan's down in their hair with more grease, and then, according 
to the tribe to which they belonged, they decorated their 
bodies either in red, yellow, or white designs or patterns. 
After that, loitering till the sun went down, and darkness 
was upon them, they made towards the camp, each beating 
two boomerangs together, and singing as they went the 
recognised " kippa " song ; till from the camp came an answer- 
ing cry, the blacks there taking up the song and beating their 
boomerangs, giving thus an invitation to enter. The messen- 


gers would do so, and the song was continued, and sung to 
a finish by the whole of the blacks assembled. 

One can imagine how, after this, all would cluster round the 
visitors, hearing and telling the news, talking over affairs, 
and making arrangements for the journey to the scene of 
action, where the first tribe were camped. The journey 
was probably undertaken next day, and the messengers 
were accompanied by the whole tribe, with the exception 
of two men, who in turn went to their next neighbours ; and 
so in the same way the news was carried from tribe to tribe, 
till all the people round about — ^men, women, and children — 
were finally gathered together for he ceremony. 

In the meantime the blacks at the appointed place were 
not idle ; they would build a large bush fence or shade (some 
distance away from the main camp), formed in a half-circle, 
to be used in the daytime as a protection from the sun for 
the boys, and also partly to hide them. Two or three huts 
nicely fashioned from tea-tree bark were also put up about one 
hundred yards from the bush shade, and these last were the 
sleeping abodes for the youngsters. Though each fresh 
tribe as it arrived would camp just as it was for the first 
night — ^men, women, and children together — the women had 
afterwards to build their own huts some good distance from 
the boys' Quarters. 

The morning after the arrival of each tribe, the youngsters 
who were to go through the ceremony would all be taken 
away from the camp, so that they could not hear what their 
parents and others were talking about there, and when they 
were out of sight the fathers, mothers, and the rest would 
get together and suggest names for the boys. When agreed 
as to each name, the men would proceed to where the boys 
were, leaving the gins behind, and when there a " turrwan," 
going up to a boy, would whisper in his ear a name, then 
turning round, would call it out in a loud voice, the result 
being a regular roar and howl as the others present took up 
the name. After each boy had had his turn, the men would 
start singing the " kippa " song, then all proceeded back to 
camp, thf boys returning to their parents. 


This little preliminary over, the men of one tribe 
would go to another tribe and demand the lads from their 
mothers, who, of course, had to submit. These men must 
be of no relation to the boys. They would take them again 
into the bush, far enough away so that the gins could not 
see nor hear them, and there they gave the boys their instruc- 
tions. The youngsters were told that they must not, on 
pain of death, ask for anything, in fact speak at all ; neither 
must they eat eggs, roes of fish, nor any female animal, 
and they must not look up to the sky. If they desired even 
to scratch themselves, they must do it, not with their hands, 
but with a stick. The men maintained that if the boys 
looked up the sky would fall and smother them, and the young- 
sters were made to beheve this. Some, I suppose, were more 
credulous than others. As for the non-eating of eggs, roes, 
etc., that was kept up after the ceremony — ^in fact, the boys 
were not allowed to eat these things till they had become 
grown or full-bearded men. My father used to think the 
idea a good excuse for the old people to claim the best and 
daintiest food. 

An instrument called the " bugaram " was now brought 
into use ; it was a thin piece of wood a quarter of an inch 
thick, cut in the shape of a paper knife, and was about 
seven inches long and two inches wide ; it was attached 
by means of a hole at the end, to a string eight 
or nine feet long, and when swung round the head 
would make a roaring noise like a buU. The gins, 
who were never allowed to see a " bugaram," and 
to whom the actual ceremony of kippa-making was never 
revealed — for if they were discovered seeking out the secrets 
of the mystery they would certainly be killed — ^were persuaded 
that the " great men " actually swallowed the boys, after- 
wards vomiting them up again on the day of the " great 
fight," which ended the ceremonies. The unearthly roaring 
sounds made with the " bugaram " were supposed by the 
gins to be the noise the " great men " made in swallowing. 

After sounding these instruments and displaying them 
for some time before the boys (of whom there might be 
some fifteen or twenty), the men took their charges to the 


bush shade prepared for their use, and here they were placed 
lying down on the ground in the half-circle, each boy's head 
on another's hip. In this position they stayed till they tired, 
when they might sit up with their legs crossed tailor fashion, 
but only provided their heads were covered with an opossum 
rug. For sitting up, they were out a Uttle from the shelter 
of the bushes, and could otherwise see the sky. Sentries 
(old men) armed, of course, were posted over the boys, pre- 
pared to spear any youngster who might be tempted to 
look up or laugh, or otherwise break through the rules, 
and the rest of the men went out hunting, generally returning 
before sunset, when they gave the boys something to eat 
and drink. Father, who saw all these ceremonies when a 
boy, would sometimes plague the lads when the old warriors 
had their backs turned, tempting them to look up, etc. ; the 
bays would grin and perhaps do so, though they dare not 
before the men. Children, black and white, are much the 
same the world over, I suppose, and of course these boys 
would speak if they got the chance. 

When dusk came on the men would assemble in a crowd 
before the boys, and go through all sorts of antics — ^jumping, 
and dancing, and laughing, and mimicking everything 
they could think of. With their fun they tried to tempt 
the boys to laugh and speak or look up ; and they chaffed 
the lads considerably, shouting that their mothers were calling 
and appealing to their superstitious notions. The capers 
some of these men would cut, and the way they walked and 
talked and strutted about, must indeed have been laughable. 
They would get hold of firesticks, and two or three would 
perhaps hold a poor, unfortunate companion by the shoulders 
and legs in mid-air, while yet another would poke a firestick 
at him from below, making him squirm and jump. Even 
that would not bring a laugh from the boys, who knew better, 
having been warned beforehand. 

In addition to all this, the men went through with a half 
song, half dance, which was kept sacred for these occasions, 
and was a secret from all the womenfolk. They also played 
with the " wobbalkan," an instrument like a " bugaram," 
only smaller, being a flat piece of wood one inch 


wide, and four inches long, which was tied fast to 
three feet of string, ending, unlike the " bugaram," in 
a handle similar to that of a stockwhip ; and hke a whip 
it was used, making a humming noise when whirled round ; 
then, as it was cracked, the noise resembled the bark of a 
dog. The boys beheld these for the first time ; they were too 
precious for everyday use ; women never saw them. 

With regard to the " bugaram" and " wobbalkan," the writer 
can say from experience that there is no exaggeration in 
the description of the noises made, the bark, for instance, 
being remarkably like that of a dog. No wonder the gins 
were afraid and crouched back into their huts, not knowing 
what the sound came from. Thirty or so of these going 
all at once would make a frightful row, and in the dark it 
would be most uncanny. The peculiar sound struck a chord 
of doubtful sympathy in our dog's nature one day evidently, 
when Father twirled and cracked a " wobbalkan " to show 
us its nature, for the animal ran as though he never meant 
to come back again. 

To return to the kippa-making. This trial of the boys, 
as it were, was kept up for a couple of hours or so ; then 
in pairs the lads were marched off with their heads covered, 
two men leading the way with spears and waddies, the rest 
walking on either side, until they arrived at their sleeping 
camp, where they were put into the huts for the night, men 
camping all round them. Much the same sort of programme 
was carried out day and night for three or four weeks, at 
the end of which time (according to this lesser ceremony) 
the boys had become " kippas." 

Always after " kippa-making," the blacks had a great fight. 
To prepare for this event, each boy was now taken in hand 
by a blackfellow belonging to a tribe other than his own, 
who would dress him up. First, it goes almost without 
saying, that the lads were rubbed over with charcoal and 
grease from head to foot ; they would not be dressed other- 
wise. Then their noses were painted red with a fine red 
powder procured by rubbing two stones (" Cinnabar " sulphide 
of mercury) together (these stones could only be got in certain 
places), and when rubbed into the skin this powder produced 


a beautifully glossy colour. On any important occasion, 
the black men always had their noses red ; bodies were painted 
in different styles, but noses were all the same. So it was 
with the boys. 

I have described how a man in full dress would perhaps 
be all white down one side, and black the other, and so on, 
according to his tribe, and these boys were now painted 
in the same way. Also, Uke the men, they would have the 
various bands and belts mentioned. In addition, however, 
a " kippa " would wear a snake- throttle tied round his fore- 
head, which had previously been cut out, sUt open, and wound 
round a stick to keep it flat. This belonged especially to a 
" kippa's "^dress, as did also a sort of tail which hung from 
the ^back of one j.of 1 the ^forehead j bands almost to the 
ground. f/This tail (" wonggin ") was made from opossum 
hair,|twisted up on the thigh into strings. ''^Similar strings 
were worn crosswise over the chest and back, forming what 
was called a " barbun." . The rest of the dress was similar 
to a man's — the parrot feathers, or j^the swan's down, the 
necklace, etc. |;i ■ . ,,; -< d < «■ <.h4/*i- M-^Kri^^'^'i--^ 
ij^When a boy was ready dressed,1.he "would have a small 
" dilly " presented to him, which had been made especially 
by^his^other or sister, ^^"i He never bwned such a thing before, 
though^he might often play with one.]|^The string handle 
would be put over his head, and the bag itself under his arm. 
He would carry red powder for his nose in this, also a " wobbal- 
kan," which latter was given him that he might play with it 
when alone in camp. Being now " full dressed," he was 
allowed to speak. 


Great Fight— Camping-ground — Yam-sticks — Boys' Weapons — Single-handed 
Fight— Great Gashes— Charcoal Powder for Healing— Same Treatment 
Kill a White man— Nose Pierced — Body Marked —" Kippa-ring" — 
" Kakka" — Notched Stick — Images Along the Koad-way. 

pFTER this dressing up of the boys a time 
was arranged for the " great fight." Two 
men were sent to the gins to order them 
idth a few old men to move th ewhole 
camp to a ridge bordering an open piece of 
coimtry suitable for a fight. The gins, who would start 
off first, had sometimes to go perhaps miles, though it was 
generally to a stated place, where fights were often held. 
There the camps were arranged about one hundred yards 
from each other, the different tribes having theirs faced 
north, south, east, or west, according to that part of the 
country they had come from. On entering a camp. 
Father could teU at a glance to where any of the tribes 
belonged, by noticing the huts. For the doorways pointed 
to whence they had come, even in spite of the wind, which 
could be guarded against by breakwinds of bushes. However, 
if wet weather set in, and things could be improved by the 
turning round of a hut, it was done. The boj^ or " kippas " 
had their camps made some six hundred yards from the others, 
and when these were occupied, several old men were left in 

The day of the fight would come round, and the women 
then repaired to the open piece of ground selected, having 
with them each a yam-stick with a small bunch of bushes 
tied to the end. A yam-stick (" kalgur ") is like a spear, 
but thicker ; it is about six feet long, and tapers to a point ; 
men never used it, but women did as a weapon, and also for 
digging for wild yams — the roots of a vine, something similar 


to sweet potatoes, which the natives were fond of. Sticking 
these yam sticks in the ground on front of them, the gins 
would stand awaiting the arrival of the newly-made " kippas," 
and the men, seeing they were ready, would start off with 
their charges down towards the fighting-ground. 

Before starting the youngsters would be formed in a line 
of two deep, with two great men, each a " turrwan," taking 
the lead, and these men were armed with spears, waddies, 
and boomerangs, and were dressed as for a fight, with paint 
and feathers or down on their bodies, like the boys according 
to their tribe. Like the boys, also, each man's nose was a 
glossy red, but through it he wore his bone. Then he had 
the human hair belt — as they were great men. Each boy 
would be armed with two little spears, a boomerang stuck 
in his belt, and a small shield, also a waddy. In addition, 
he now wore a fringe of green bushes stuck in the belt round 
his waist. 

When the youngsters were ready to start with the two 
men in the lead, the others, also dressed up, would range 
themselves behind, and on either side of the boys, then 
before moving they all gave an unearthly yell to let the 
gins know they were starting. Off they would then go in a 
half trot, half walk, singing a war song as they proceeded, 
and beating time with their waddies and boomerangs, keeping 
good time too, though they made a frightful row. When 
the gins saw them approaching, they also would start dancing 
about and singing, apparently rejoiced at the reappearance 
of the " kippas," who with the men would, when they came 
up, career gaily round the group of women three times, 
dancing and yelling their hardest. Then the women would 
snatch up their yam-sticks and point with the bushy end 
at whichever boy was their son or relation, and the boys 
would grasp the bushes, puUing them off and putting them 
under their arms, and all danced round again thrice as before' 

The " kippas " divided into companies then, each to his 
own tribe, standing in line about thirty yards apart. The 
old warriors of the tribe stood behind them, and the women 
in a third rank behind again. The newly-made " kippas " 
would then fall upon each other, fighting with their little 


spears^and waddies, the rest looking on no doubt enjoying 
the^^fun, which would last some twenty minutes or so. 

After that the serious business of the day began, the 
" kippas " drawing back, and the seasoned warriors taking 
their place in the play. The young fellows would generally 
fight in solemn earnest, burning to earn distinction ; but 
the elders had many an ancient feud to satisfy, many a 
story of murder and abduction they remembered when 
they saw the grim line of»painted warriors before them, and 
the fight was sure to be a fierce one, the excitement growing 
as the blows increased. What a gruesome sight it must 
have been ! Spears would fly fast, waddies sound with 
a crash against thick skulls, and blood would flow freely. 
Also the women from outside, and the men who were too old 
to join in, would hurl sticks, stones, and curses in amongst 
the fighters, who chased and fought each other, keeping 
on the go for about an hour. All the time the young fellows 
looked on and learnt, probably thinking of the time when 
they would be able to do as well or better, as is the way 
with young people. Becoming exhausted at the end of a 
certain time, the warriors would take a well-earned rest, 
each side squatting down on the ground some two hundred 
yards apart. 

It was remarkable to notice what little real harm was done 
after all this fierce excitement, though the wounds in some 
cases seemed ghastly enough. Should any one be killed, 
that ended hostilities for the time. Otherwise, it would not 
be long before two men of one side would jump up, and 
frantically running half-way across to the others, they would 
brandish and wave their spears in a most threatening manner, 
as though to say, " Come along, you black-hearted villains, 
and just see what you will get ! " The " black-hearted 
villains" weren't to be frightened, however, and to show 
their contempt for any such threat, and that they would not 
be behind-hand in any fight, they were soon on their feet 
going through exactly the same sort of antics themselves, 
as the others retreated. Back would come the other two to 
threaten again, and ,so on turn about, till at last all these 
threats ended in a challenge from four or five a side to the 


[ To /ace f*. 46, 


same number on the other for a single-handed fight, man to 
man. The challenge was, of course, accepted, and the 
men then got into position twenty or thirty yards apart, 
and began to throw spears and waddies at each other. Father 
says it was just wonderful to see how the weapons were 
dodged ; there perhaps would scarcely be a wound inflicted, 
even though things would be kept going for half-an-hour or so. 
When this handful of blacks had played out their little 
part of the play, a " turrwan " of one tribe would rise up 
majestically and challenge a man of another tribe at whose 
door he laid the blame of the death of a relative. These 
two wovild then go at it, swearing at one another, fighting , 
too, at close quarters, which the others had not done. They 
would both hold a stone knife in their teeth, not using it 
at first, but doing their best to strike each other with waddies, 
protecting themselves with shields. The shields used when 
waddies were the weapons in use were stouter and thicker 
than those used as a protection from spejirs. 

Sometimes one man would receive a blow on the head, 
sometimes on the leg, and the moment a blow found its way 
home thus shields and waddies were dropped at once, and 
the two men would close in, using the left arm and hand 
to clutch the enemy, while with the stone knife, now in the 
right hand, they would stab and hack at each other, cutting 
great gashes in the shoulders and back or thighs of the oppon- 
ent. They dared not cut the breast, nor indeed any front 
part of the body ; if those looking on saw this done they 
would interfere immediately and kill the offender. The 
onlookers also took upon themselves to separate the two 
if they thought one was receiving more than his due share, 
and the friends of the most severely wounded promptly gave 
the other a few more gashes to make things equal ! — the 
victor being bound to stand quietly and submit to this being 
done. They iought very fiercely, these men ; some of the 
gashes were terrible. Father has seen dozens on their backs, 
and sometimes extra deep ones on their thighs. To heal 
the wounds, they used charcoal powder, and sometimes 
just wood ashes pounded down. 


The aborigines never laid up with their wounds, though 
one wonders at it. Father has seen in a fight the skin of the 
head cut right through to the skull with a waddy. These 
deep cuts on the head were treated in the same way as those 
on the body — just charcoal put in them, and the wounds 
seemed to recover in a few weeks' time. It would without 
doubt kill a white man to be treated in the same way. 

This fighting was kept up on the whole for about five hours 
in the fore part of the day. After these champions had had 
their "go," other fighting men would follow, and so on. When 
all was ended, everybody would retire to camp, the "kippas" 
who were thus being initiated into the art of warfare, being 
escorted to their quarters by a dozen men. The rest of the 
day was employed in hunting for food, and at night the 
boys would play with the " wobbalkan " and watch the men 
dance, etc. This was not for one day only, but for about 
a week the fight went on, at the end of which time the 
" kippas " were supposed to be fighting men, able to fight 
their own battles. All through, though, they were kept 
away from their mothers, and for three months or so after 
this they did not return to the women's camp, but would 
hunt and camp with the elder men, keeping more or less to 
their dress meanwhile. 

After the great fight was over the " kippas " would have 
their noses pierced, and their bodies ornamented with scars, 
the latter being done in different ways, according to the 
tribe to which they belonged. The natives here did not 
tattoo, but marked their bodies. The nose-piercing and 
body-marking was generally done in dull, damp weather, 
if possible, the idea being that it would not hurt so much 
then. And when aU was over, the visiting tribes would 
depart to journey homewards, taking each with them their 
own " kippas," or young men, the latter travelling apart 
from the others. 

The greater ceremony of kippa-making was carried out 
in the following fashion, and what is known as the " bora " 
ceremony of other tribes is not unlike it. First a circle — 
called " bul " by the Brisbane blacks, and " tur " by the 
Bribie Island tribe — was formed in the ground, very like a 



tii<oat eoff^arda, 

circus ring, the earth being dug from the centre with sharp 
sticks and stone tomahawks, and carried to the outside on 
small sheets of bark to form a mound or edging round the 
ring about two feet high. The circle itself was about forty or 
fifty feet across, and was quite round. Then a road five feet 
wide was made from the circle, running about six hundred yards 
to another smaller circle, just the same, but half the size. 
All along both sides of the roadway were placed peculiar 
images in clay or grass, two or three feet high, of kangaroos, 
opossums, native bears, emus, turtles, snakes, fish, and 
nearly all sorts of animals, as well as of men. Images were 
also cut in the bark of trees which grew along the roadway. 
Now a straight wattle tree was sought for, measuring 
from eight to nine inches through the trunk, and the blacks 
would grub all round this tree three feet or so away from the 
stem, cutting the roots through, and so falling it. This 
was easily done, as the wattle has no tap-root, and the other 
roots are all spread out near the surface. They were nice 
and flat these roots, and the blacks would trim them up a. 
little, and also top the tree, leaving the barrel about eleven feet 
in length. Then the whole thing would be lifted and carried to- 
the smaller circle, where in the centre a hole three feet deep 
had been dug ready to receive it. The stem would be well 
rammed into this hole, and the roots being uppermost, 
they would be laced with wattle bark, so making a sort 
of network, beautifully done, resembling somewhat the 
bottom of a large cane chair ; and this formed a platform 
six feet across. This stump or platform the natives called 
" kakka," meaning " something wonderful." 


The remains of a " kippa-ring," as we call it, may still 
be seen near Humpybong. There used to be one at North 
Pine, opposite to where the blacksmith's shop now stands, 
and another at Samford. 

As in the lesser ceremony, messengers were sent to a neigh- 
bouring tribe, and they would act in just the same way' 
as then, but this time, they carried a notched stick as a 
sign of what was to take place, and which pointed out, as 
it were, that a number of boys were ready to be transformed 
into " kippas." The stick on being presented to a " turrwan," 
meant an invitation for the tribe to come and bring along 
their boys. 

While this was going on the blacks at the ring were busy 
fixing it up for the ceremony, and making their camps two 
hunchred yards away. Sometimes two or three weeks would 
pass before all the different tribes roUed up, and every batch 
of fresh arrivals fell to like a lot of busy ants or bees, and made 
their own huts. The time, too, was employed in hunting for 
iood, and so it passed till the tribes had all assembled. Then 
the boys would be taken away, and in their absence names 
were suggested for them, also they had to listen to the instruc- 
tions about speaking and eating, etc. 

This finished, the youngsters were packed off to the large 
ring, and there they were placed inside, lying down all round 
the ring, each boy's head on another's hip — there would be 
probably forty or fifty of them. The gins would go into 
-the circle, and dance and sing the " lappa " song for about 
half-an-hour, the men doing the same on the outside. Then 
the boys were made to sit up in twos all round on the mound, 
a space between each pair, their legs inside the ring, and a 
gin standing outside behind each boy — a mother, sister, or 
some other relation. The singing would go on all the time, 
and the boys must never look up at the sky, but simply 
straight ahead. 

Several men carrying boomerangs would now enter the 
ring, and a man going up to each boy would point at him 
with the boomerang. The boy was supposed to catch hold 
of the end, and at the moment that he did so a gin behind 
clutched him by the hair of the head, and lifted him up. 


Then, still holding on, the lads would follow the men across 
the ring, the gins behind, till they came to where the roadway 
started out to the smaller circle. Here the women were 
ordered back by the old warriors, and they remained in 
the larger ring dancing and singing till the boys returned. 
They were never allowed to go up this roadway, nor might 
they see the " kakka " on pain of death. 

The boys were shown the images lining both sides of the 
way, the men drawing their attention to them with the 
continual cry — " Kor-6, kor-e, kor-e " (" Kor-^," with the e 
accented and sounded as an a, means " wonder "). Thus 
they would reach the smaller circle, where in the centre 
the " kakka " stood supreme, and on this platform five 
or six blacks would be found standing, freshly blackened 
and all dressed up. These gentlemen were the great men 
of the day — they were all " turrwans," and when the boys 
appeared before them each man would pull a " kundri " 
stone from his mouth, showing it to the boys as much as to 
say, " Look at this wonder." They would also point out the 
" kakka " as something marvellous. The boys from their 
babyhood had been taught to look on the " kundri " and 
its possessor with awe, and though they had never seen a 
" kakka" before, they had heard mysteriously of its wonders. 


'Fireworks Display" —Warning the Women— Secret Corrobboree— " Look 
at this Wonder"— Destroying the " Kakka"— How Noses were Pierced— 
Site of Kippa-rings"— Raised Scars— Inter-tribal Exchange of Weapons, 
etc. — Removing Left Little Finger — Fishing or Coast Women. 

iHEN the boys had been shown all there 
was to be seen in the smaller circle, they 
were taken again to the larger one, and 
there placed as before, with the men and 
women all round outside dancing and singing, some quite close, 
and others fifty yards or so away from the ring. Then down 
the roadway would come the warriors from the " kakka " 
and, going up to each boy, a man would whisper in his ear 
the name formerly agreed on ; then out this name would 
be shouted, and the roaring and singing and dancing which 
followed continued for the space of half- an -hour, when it 
gradually ceased and died down. After that the gins and a 
few old men were left in charge, while the others went out 
hunting, to return with food, a supply of which they gave 
to the boys. 

At night, the lads, still in twos round the ring, were treated 
to a " fireworks " display. " Kundri " men would come 
running down the roadway to the big ring, with small firesticks 
in either hand, and these they would shake and brandish in 
front of the boys as they ran round the ring, making a great 
noise all the time. The men and women on the outside 
added to the row by singing and dancing, and they also 
carried firesticks, twisting them into all shapes and forms 
with their movements. 

It was a sight worth seeing. Let us in fancy look at it 
in the solitude of the bush. The dark forms ever on the 
move, the fire-sticks twisted into fantastic shapes and hoops 
of fire, lighting up the Uttle sober faces of the boys as they 


sat round the ring watching the performance. And the 
white boy looking on at it all. What were his thoughts 
of it ? To him it was a common occurrence ; but to us, 
could we but see it now, it would, indeed, be a strange and 
memorable scene. And as we look the men in the ring, 
after running till they surely tire, stand and brandish their 
sticks for the last time, then cast them into the centre of 
the ring, where they blaze up, illuminating the night. This 
would end the performance, and the " kippas " were marched 
to the special camp prepared for them away from the others. 

The next morning, after the cry for the dead and the 
early meal, etc., the " kippas " were once more taken to the 
nng, and placed there in the old position with the men and 
women singing round them as usual. In the bush, fifty 
yards away, dark forms were hidden, two on either side of 
the ring. These were some of the great men, and presently 
one lot would start whistling as a sort of warning of what 
they meant to do, and, being answered by their companions 
of the opposite side, they would all then go forward with a 
dance and a song to where the gins were, and start chasing 
the latter, calling to them to be off and camp by themselves, 
taking also their belongings. These poor creatures were 
threatened with instant death if they disobeyed, or came 
near and dared to look at anything about the ring. If 
black women are as curious as we are supposed to be, this 
was hard lines ! Let us hope they are not. 

After the women had gone out of sight and hearing, the 
young men, or " kippas," were taken to their quarters, and 
there fuUy dressed in the style described before. The men 
also dressed in their fighting dress, and when ready they 
marshalled the boys back to the ring. The youngsters then 
were shown the " bugaram " and the " wobbalkan," the men 
swinging the former and making it sound, also playiug 
with the latter, and instructing the boys how to use it. In 
between, too, they would sing and dance the secret corrobboree 
that the women must never hear nor see. 

Each boy wovdd now be presented with his " dilly," and 
the " wobbalkan " to put in it. Afterwards the men 
began to pick quarrels with each other, calling names, and 


wrestling, even throwing one another to the ground ; and 
this was all for the boys' benefit, that they might be tempted 
to speak. They were tempted in every way, spoken to, laughed 
at, jeered at — all as in the lesser ceremony. 

The second night the boys were taken up the roadway, 
and shown the wonders there by firelight this time. Their 
guides would carry lighted torches, and all along on both 
sides bright fires burned, casting their radiance on the fan- 
tastic figures which lined the way, and thus stood out in 
strange relief. They went on thus to the smaller circle, 
and there the " kakka " came in for a share of attention. 

This sort of thing went on day and night for two or three 
\\ eeks, sometimes longer ; then a time was fixed for the 
" great fight." But before that event came off, the boys 
would be one day taken from the big ring along the roadway 
to the smaller one, where they were made to stand facing the 
" kakka " with the great men thereon. Hardly would they 
be so placed when half-a-dozen blacks would come with a 
roar and a rush, and, grabbing hold of the "kakka," would 
shake it with a will, the warriors on top pulling the " kundri " 
from their mouths, and crying, " Look at this wonder." 
Still the men went on shaking until the " kakka " became 
quite loose, when they would hft it out of the hole (the 
warriors still on top), and lay it down on the ground. The 
boys looking on would now have their heads covered with 
opossum rugs, so that they could not see what was done, 
and the " kakka " was chopped into little pieces and scattered 
here and there. 

This over the boys were taken to their camp and allowed 
to speak. Perchance before the fight they had their noses 
pierced, or perhaps it was after. Placed again round the 
large ring, they sat while a " turrwan " went one behind 
and one in front of each boy. The man in front would 
have long sharp nails, and with these he pinched 
through the soft part of the boy's nose ; that done he 
thrust a small sharp spear through the opening, after 
which a piece of stick formed for the purpose three inches 
in length was put in, and this was kept there till the nose 
healed. Every day during the healing period water was 


poured on, and the stick was turned round Then afterwards 
a round ball of bees' wax was kept in the hole for about a month 
in order that it might be kept open. 

All the time the boring of the nose was going forward, 
the " turrwan " at the back would keep beating with his 
open hands the boy's ears, and making a roaring noise. 
This was supposed to prevent the youngster from feeling 
pain ! The " kippas " would remain in full dress diiring 
all this time, and when the nose-piercing was over, all pro- 
ceeded towards where the gins were camped, but the "kippas" 
still kept from their women friends, having their camp apart 
as usual. 

Each night now the young fellows would play with the 
" wobbalkan," making it hum and bark like a dog, and the 
men made the " bugaram" roar, so that the gins in their camps, 
hearing these noises, grew afraid, and kept well inside their 
huts, thinking no doubt that the poor boys were being 

For " kippa " making the aborigines did not each time 
make fresh rings, but there were certain ones that different 
blacks always used, and these they would fix up. For in- 
stance, the natives coming from the direction of Ipswich, 
Cressbrook, Mount Brisbane (inland blacks) would, with 
the Brisbane tribe, generally use the ring at Samford, while 
the Logan, Amity Point, North Pine, Moreton and Bribie 
Islands blacks (coast tribes) had their ring at North Pine. 
Others again from further north, such as the Maroochy, 
Noosa, Kilcoy, Durundur, and Barambah blacks would use 
the Humpybong ring. But it depended on which tribe had 
the most boys ready for the ceremony, and did the inviting. 
If a coast tribe invited, then all the others went to the ring 
that tribe would naturally use, and so on. 

In the same way, there was generally a certain picked 
place for holding the fight after " kippa " making. The 
inland tribes went from the Samford ring to the site of the 
Roma Street Railway Station in Brisbane, and the coast 
tribes went either to Eagle Farm or to what used to be known 
as York's Hollow, where the Exhibition now is. 

The great fight I have already described, and when that 


was over the " kippas " had their various ornaments taken 
off and put m a diUy, and these were kept for another occasion 
for fresh boys. Boys who had gone through the " kippa " 
ceremony thought a great deal of themselves. Father 
was often amused at the way in which a small boy — a " kippa " 
though — ^would lord it over a much bigger one who was not 
yet a " kippa." He would tweak the other's ear, pull his hair, 
and otherwise treat him disrespectfully, and the big chap 
would be boimd to submit as quite an inferior. Or the Uttle 
fellow would chase the other as hard as he could go, his 
string tail flying out behind, and it was all quite right ! 
How would white boys like this ? 

It was the duty of the " kippas " to leave no trace behind 
of the " bugaram " or the " wobbalkan." They were supposed 
to bum these instruments when finished with, so that the 
gins might not see them. 

At the end the boys were marked with body scars, on 
the back, the breast, and on the shoulders and arms, in 
patterns according to the tribe to which they belonged. These 
marks were made with sharp flint stones or shells, and had 
fine charcoal powder rubbed into them. It was remarkable 
how the scars became raised after a short time ; a white 
man's skin is not the same. Father saw " Duramboi " (Davis, 
the convict) after he had lived seventeen years with the blacks, 
and his body was marked, but the scars were flat, not raised 
as those of the blacks. 

When aU the ceremonies were over the blacks would 
still linger, hunting by day and having their corrobborees 
by night, and then — as always after any gathering, even 
a fight — they would in the end part well pleased with each 
other, and excellent friends. But before leaving any common 
meeting ground, the aborigines always exchanged possessions. 
For instance, the inland blacks would give weapons, opossum 
rugs, dogs, etc., to the coast blacks for diOies made of rushes 
that grew only on the coast, shells for ornaments, and reed 
necklaces. It was a great practice, this intertribal exchange 
of various articles, and accounts for the way in which some 
weapon for instance, or perhaps a dilly bag, might be found 
far from its original home, having gradually made its way 


after many years to scenes and pastures new. So when 
some instrument was found in the possession of a certain 
tribe it did not by any means follow that they had originally 
made that instrument. 

I may mention here that the aborigines, men and women, 
all had the same body markings — that is, in the same tribe, 
for all different tribes had different patterns. Each individual 
received them as children ; httle boys or girls, when old 
enough, might be taken at any time and marked, without 
any ceremony, by old men (never women) of the tribe. 
However, boys could never receive their shoulder marks 
till they had come to the " kippa stage." 

Another practice was that of removing the left httle finger 
of all young girls. This was to show that they were fishing 
or coast women. When nine or ten years of age a httle girl 
would have her finger performed on by her mother, or some 
old woman, in this way. The gin would hunt round for 
some strong spider's web, and get the string from this, or, 
failing that, she obtained some long hair from a man's head 
(women's hair was always short), and then with this she 
would bind round and round the httle finger on the first 
joint as tightly as possible. In time the string would cut 
into the joint and the finger would swell up, the end morti- 
fying. At this stage the child was taken to an ant-bed, 
and there the woman sat patiently holding the finger for 
some hours, allowing the ants to get at it (but preventing 
them from going up the arm), till such time as they had eaten 
into the joint, and so caused the end to come off easily. 
Afterwards the skin grew over the bone. 

This was a regular practice with the blacks hving on the 
coast ; the inland people never did it. It was not done 
out of any hardness towards the children, but as a matter 
of course. Indeed, the aborigines were very fond of and 
kind to their children, and were continually " skylarking " 
with them. They would dress the httle pickaninnies up, 
even painting them, and then get them to dance and go 
through with mimic corrobborees, etc., laughing and thinking 
it a great joke when the children responded. They also 
took a lot of trouble and interest in the way of teaching 
them to swim, climb, or use weapons of all sorts. 


Mourning for the Dead— Red, White, and Yellow Colouring— No Marriage 
Ceremony— Strict Marriage Laws — Exchange of Brides — Mother-in-Law 
— Three or Four Wives — Blackfellows' Dogs— Bat Made the Men and 
Night-Hawk the Women— Thrush which Warned the Blacks— Dreams — 
Moon and Sun— Lightning— Cures for Illness — Pock Marks — Dugong 

pN contrast to white people, the aborigines wore red 
when mourning for the dead. Black being their natural 
^colour, it would not of course express anything as 
it does with us. Red was put on all over the body, 
even the face, and then for deep mourning (for instance, if 
the deceased were a brother or sister) splashes of white 
clay lelieved the monotony here and there. It was only the 
old people who troubled to mourn thus, however ; and the old 
gins in addition wore feathers coloured red, stuck in Uttle 
bunches here and there in the hair with bees' wax. (The 
bees' wax, which was carried about in dillies, would be 
warmed and put on the feathers, and then quickly, ere 
it hardened, the little bunches would be stuck in the 
hair — the women helping one another.) The close friends 
and relatives would remain so adorned for a month or two, 
but other old people, putting on mourning, would discard it 
.again in a few days' time. 

The red colouring used for mourning was not the same as that 
used for reddening noses. They were both got from stones, 
but the latter was more uncommon, and the Turrbal tribe 
could only obtain it by barter with inland blacks. In both 
instances, two stones were rubbed together, and the powder 
coming from them just rubbed into the skin, but the mourning 
colour was a dull red, while the other was beautifully bright 
and glossy. Red colouring was called " kutchi," which, 
however, was the name given to any paint. 


When putting on white clay (" banda ") the natives would 
wet a piece well with their tongue, and so plaster it on. The 
yellow colouring, or " purgunpallam," used at other times 
(never for mourning) was obtained from a toadstool (Poly- 
saccum olivaceum) which grew, strange to say, always beside 
a big ant's nest. My father says to his knowledge they never 
grew anywhere else. They were big and round, these toad- 
stools, and were full of a yellow powder which the blacks 
rubbed dry into their skins. White toadstools of the same 
shape are common enough. 

For a woman about to become a wife, there was no painting 
up of the body, neither was there any particular ceremony 
or rejoicing of any kind. The aborigines, however, were 
most strict and particular with regard to their marriage 
laws — ^indeed, they would not dream of allowing things 
we do ; for instance a man might not even marry any of his 
former wife's relations, and those we call cousins and second 
cousins were quite out of the question. Marriages were 
generally arranged without the contracting parties having 
any say whatever in the matter, and a man would often so 
get a wife from a tribe other than his own, though this wasn't 

At corrobborees the different tribes exchanged their goods, 
such as shields, spears, nets, etc., and often they made use of 
the same occasion to give and take wives. It was always 
a correct thing — indeed a general rule — for a " turrwan " 
of one tribe to give his daughter to the son of a great man 
of another, and then the son's father gave his daughter 
back for the other's son. Or else they exchanged sisters. 
Or perhaps in the corrobboree there would be a man 
who danced and joked especially well, this man would take 
the fancy of a " turr^van "in an opposite tribe, and so he 
would generously present the capable young fellow with his 
daughter, or if he had none, his sister or next relation. 
Then the young man who had gained such a prize would give 
back his sister to the old man's son, and so on, for it was 
always give and take. 

If there was a widower in the camp, and the others thought 
him deserving of a wife, or if there was a man unmarried 


and deserving, the blacks would consult together to choose 
a wife for him without his knowledge. Then, if all rektions 
agreed, the gin would be told by her friends who was to 
be her husband, and the man would be told in the same 
way whom he had to take for his wife. 

In spite of all this arranging, two young people would 
sometimes make use of their own fancy, and run away together. 
There was such a thing as that in«^nvenieiitj)assion called 
love amongst the iJjorimnes, I suppose. These two young 
unfortunates would be "followed and brought back after a 
time, and straightway a fight was arranged between their 
respective tribes. If his friends should win, he was allowed 
to keep her, but, should her party have the better of it — then, 
oh injustice ! — she was beaten and cut about most f rightfully^ 
almost killed, and the pair were separated, she bemg sent 
back^toTier parents. Woman — ^poor woman — is there no 
justice for you anywhere ? 

4 Sometimes when these exchanges were being made, a httle 
girl — a mere baby — of five or six years, might be given to a man 
of thirty or forty. However, she would stay with her parents 
until she was about fourteen years old. Then one day a hut 
would be mafie and a fire built in it, and the blackfeUow 
would go alone into the hut, and sit beside the fire, the mothei 
and father would bring the girl to hkn, leave her alongside 
and then walk away without speaking a word. Ever after- 
wards the mother must shun her son-in-law, and if she saw 
him she covered her face. She, however, might speak to 
her daughter. A mother-in-law was called " bugo-i," and 
she always avoided her son-in-law thus. Even with the 
blacks you see a son and mother-in-law were not supposed 
to " hit it," indeed with them it was a law that there should 
be no communication whatever between the two. According 
to some people this law with us would save trouble ! 

Different tribes would be related one to the other all over 
the place by these intermarriages, and Father always found 
some woman from another tribe in every fresh one he came 
across. The woman belonged to her husband's tribe then, 
and children were always spoken of as their father's son or 
daughter, not their mother's. And if a man died and left 


a wife and family, his brother was supposed to take the 
widow ; if there were no brother, however, then the next 
male relation of the deceased was responsible. Failing 
any relation, the widow was given to a man the tribe thought 
should have a wife, or perhaps if she and some man had a 
fancy for one another, and the friends did not object, their 
marriage was allowed. 

A great man, or " turrwan," might have two or threes 
or even four, wives. In such a case he would take one out \ 
hunting when he went, leaving perhaps two to seek for roots j 
and prepare them against his return. Then next day a 
different one would accompany him, and so on. These 
wives all lived happily enough together — ^the poor savages 
knew no greater happiness apparently, than to serve their 
lord and master. They were useful in carrying the burdens 
froiir^ne place to another. A woman, because she was a 
woman, always carried the heaviest load. A man took 
his tomahawk, his spear, and waddy, and that sort of thing ; 
a woman humped along the weighty kangaroo and 'possum ( 
skin coverings, the dillies with eatables, and sometimes 
also a heavy little piece of goods in the form of a child. At 
times, too, she would carry tea-tree bark on her back for 
the humpies, while ever and anon as they travelled along 
the men enjoyed themselves hunting and looking for " sugar- 
bags " (native bees' nests), etc. 

Sometimes old men (never young ones) would carry puppies 
too young to walk, but it was mostly women who did this also. 
Aborigines were " awful fond " of their dogs — they were 
the only pets they had. They would never by any chance 
kill a puppy, but would keep every one, and this, no doubt, 
accounted for the poor condition of these followers. Father 
says that even in old days they were a mangy-looking lot. 
Probably they did not get sufficient food, but had to live 
on the scraps and bones thrown to them. However, a gin 
would nurse a puppy just as carefully as any baby ; all dogs 
would sleep with their owners, and they would drink from 
the same vessel. Children — in spite of their parents' fondness 
for them — ^if they dared ill-use a dog, would call down torrents 
of abuse upon their little black selves, and they would be 


smacked soundly. Dogs would be taught to hunt ; they 
were always native dogs in the old times, but those of the 
white man soon got amongst them, and my father knew one 
blackfellow who carried a domestic cat about with him. 

The aborigines used always to declare that the " billing " 
(what we know as the small house bat) made all their menfolk, 
and the "wamankan" (night-hawk) made the woman. 
They did not eat either of these, but might catch and kill 
them. If the men got hold of a " wamankan " they would 
bring it into camp, and holding it up would chaff the women 
about it. They also chased the " fair sex " all over the place 
with this hawk, and with it plagued the Ufe out of them 
in every conceivable way. For instance, they rolled it up 
in bark as though it were a dead body ready for burial, 
and putting it over their shoulder strutted about so. But 
supposing the women got possession of a " billing," then their 
turn came, and the men were laughed at and taunted and 
chased. This kind of thing would generally start with 
jokes and yells and screams of laughter, but sometimes it 
ended pretty seriously in big fights and squabbles. Great 
cuts and gashes would then be the result, the women fighting 
just as viciously as the men. 

A bird, the piping shrike-thrush (CoUyricincla Harmonica, 
Latham), which the blacks christened " mirram," was 
always watched when it came near a camp, and 
it was spoken to and asked questions about certain 
things. The blacks noticed whether it called out in reply 
or not, and they took warning and acted accordingly. If 
the bird were silent all was well. Supposing, however, 
in spite of its silence something went wrong after all, then 
instead of losing faith in the bird they blamed themselves 
for not having asked it the correct question. 

On one occasion, when my father returned from the Turon 
diggings in 185 1, he showed the blacks some gold dust, 
and they informed him they knew where there was lots of 
it. So they took him to Samford to a creek in the scrub 
there, and sure enough there was plenty " yellow " showing, 
but the white boy saw at once it was only mica. However, 
they camped for the night there in the scrub. 


Samford was all wild bush then. As darkness was descending 
a bird (a " mirram ") came and settled on a branch above 
their heads, and called out. An old blackfellow got up and 
spoke to it, asking if there were any strange blacks in the 
neighbourhood. The bird did not answer but flew away, 
so the natives felt safe. However, later on, a sound like some- 
thing heavy hitting against a hollow tree broke the stillness. 
The sound was rather peculiar : to this day my father says he 
can hear it in fancy in the quietude of the scrub. He sug- 
gested that it was a tree falling ; but this dark companions 
would not hear of this, and began to lament and blame 
themselves that they had not spoken properly to the " mir- 
ram." It certainly would have answered if they only had 
asked the right question ! They said the sound was a strange 
blackfellow knocking, and though it did not occur again, 
nothing quietened them, and one man sat up all night 
watching. All to no purpose though, for nothing happened. 
It was on the way back to Brisbane from thi- trip next day 
that the blacks showed Father the " kippa " ring at Samford. 

If an aboriginal dreamt anything special at any time, 
he would always repeat the dream to his companions, and 
they would take it seriously. A dream was called " pai-abun," 
and during one a man would often see a person who had 
died, and ima.gine that he was told to do this or that — ^probably 
kill some one Also, if he saw anything dreadful in his dream 
he became exceedingly afraid, and wovdd be convinced 
that the awful things he saw were really to happen. Again, 
if the moon or sun became eclipsed, it was a sure sign to the 
natives of the death of some one. Lightning, too, frightened 
them, and they always hid their spears and tomahawks during 
a storm. Spears when not in use were left standing upright 
against the doorway of a hut, and Father says that as a 
storm came up you would see the natives taking these and 
their tomahawk and laying them down on the ground 
under tufts of grass. Later on when they had learnt the 
white man's habit of smoking they always took their pipes 
from their mouths when a storm was raging. 

The aborigines had pecuhar habits with regard to illnesses. 
The " kundri " — the crystal stone before spoken of — was 


held to be the cause of pretty well everything in that way. 
A great man possessing one of these stones was always to 
the fore. At corrobborees he would come forward, and, 
wetting his breast with his hand, would shake himself and 
then, with a noise like a frog or a crow, would pull forth the 
string, with stone attached, from his mouth, amidst a great 
cry and wonder from the onlookers. Father has seen one 
of these men kneeling and sucking a sick man's body on the 
part where the pain was, then rising after a time, pull the 
" kundri " from his mouth saying he had sucked it from 
the sufferer's body. There is said to be power in beUef, 
and it would seem so for the sick man believing his enemy's 
stone was removed would feel better and probably recover. 
The " turrwan " would be cute enough not to do this if he 
thought the case hopeless. 

Another idea was, when any one was ill, to tie 'possum 
hair string round the invalid's ankles and wrists. Father 
has seen a man far gone in consumption, with hair tied on 
thus, and also round and round his body ; an old gin sitting 
about a yard off had hold of the end of the body string, and 
with both hands she dipped it into some water she had ready 
in a " pikki " (pot made from bark, or the flower-leaf of the 
palm), and from the water to her mouth. Constantly she 
did this, and so urgently, that her gums bled freely with the 
rubbing, and the water became thick with blood she ex- 
pectorated into it. The sick man seeing this believed the 
woman had taken bad blood from his body. It wa- a habit 
to let out blood in cases of swelling and bruises. 

The natives cured headaches in the following fashion : — 
Two big flat stones were procured, these were made very 
hot, and then one would be placed on the ground with an 
opossum rug over it, on this the patient would lay his head 
and the other stone would be put on top of that again with 
another piece of rug in between to prevent burning. There 
the man would lie grinning for some time, until the great 
heat took the headache away. Two other cures they had for 
headaches — one was to dive under water, and stop there as 
long as possible, and the other was a very hard knock on 


the head with a waddy. The latter my father has given 
them many a time at their request. 

Often for pains such as toothache the blacks would bum 
with a i&re stick — (for instance on the cheek) — their idea 
must have been that one pain would cure another. Flesh 
wounds would we washed and scraped with a stick till they 
ceased to bleed, then, as mentioned, fine charcoal powder 
or ashes would be put on them — sometimes even only ordinary 
dirt. It was wonderful how splendidly they healed up under 
this treatment. The blacks were always very good to their 
sick, but they had their own ideas of kindness. If at any 
time a man became unconscious, to make him recover, his 
ears would be banged and shouted into. So long as he could 
hear he was thought to be better. 

When my father first came to North Pine pock marks 
were very strong on some of the old men ; they explained 
to him how the sickness had come amongst them long before 
the time of the white people, killing off numbers of their 
comrades. fPock marks they called " nuram-nuram," the 
same name as that given to any wart. (From this Neurum 
Neurum Creek, near Caboolture, gets its name.) The scourge 
itself was " bugaram,"" and the latter was what the instru- 
ment similar to the " wobbaklan " was called. There was 
probably some connection, in that they were both awe-inspir- 
ing in their way. The " bugaram," which the women never 
saw, was no common everyday instrument, and was looked on 
with wonder, while small-pox was something to be spoken 
of in a whisper and with bated breath. After the advent 
of the whites, consumption took hold of the race, and where 
before natives lived to a good old age, one would hardly 
see any old people — their remarkable freedom from sickness 
seemed to disappear. 

The natives were great believers in the curative properties 
of the dugong. Father has seen sick blacks, unable to walk, 
apparently in consumption, carried carefully to the mouth 
of the Brisbane River, and there put into canoes and taken 
across to Fisherman's Island to where dugong were being 
caught. There they would live for some time on the flesh 
of the dugong, and the oil would be rubbed all over their 


bodies, and in the end they would return' fquitejstrong and 
well. In the early days of Brisbane, my father mentioned 
how he had seen this for himself to Dr. Hobbs, who was greatly 
interested, and afterwards recommended the use of dugong 
oil as a remedy similar to cod-liver oil, and this is how it 
came to be first used medicinally in Queensland. 

If all the old aboriginals of Brisbane could come to life 
again they would not recognise their country — the country 
we have stolen from them. If they went hunting in the forests, 
where would be their spoil ? — ^where, indeed, would they 
find the forests to hunt in ? Oh ! how they must have loved 
those forests — their forests ; and could they return now, 
their cry would surely be as despairing as that of " CEnone," 
as Tennyson paints her lamenting the destruction of " my 
tallest pines, my tall dark pines, that plumed the craggy 
ledge." Never, never more would she see " the morning 
mist sweep through them," and never more shall one of Aus- 
tralia's dark children see Brisbane as God made it. " God 
made the country, man made the town." As the black hunted 
careless and free in those days long ■ gone, Uttle dreamed 
he of what his brother-white would do — little dreamed 
there was a brother-white. 

The waters even have changed since those times. Dugong 
used to be very plentiful then, when there was nothing 
much in the way of disturbances. The blacks would catch 
them at Fisherman's Island, at St. Helena, at a place near 
Dunwich they caUed " Gumpi," at Bribie Passage, and at 
the mouth of the Pine River. 


Food — How It was Obtained — Catching and Cooking Dugong — An Incident 
at Amity Point — Porpoises Never Killed ; but Regarded as Friends — 
They Helped to Catch Fish — Sea Mullet and Other Fish— Fishing 
Methods — Eels — Crabs— Oysters and Mussels — Cobra. 

iSpUGONG. — For catching dugong the blacks used 
strong nets made from the inside bark of 
^^^ a scrub vine (Malaisia tortuoso), which they 
called "nannam." This bark is exceedingly 
strong ; indeed, pulling at it one cannot but be struck with 
its strength. To get the bark the blacks would cut the vine 
in lengths, and then beat these well with sticks until it 
peeled off easily with the teeth. This they would then 
soak in water for several days, at the end of which time the 
rough outer bark would be thrown away, while with 
their thumb nails the men would split the inner bark 
up into fibre. This fibre was dried and then twisted on their 
thighs into excellent string, which was very useful in many 
ways. On account of its strength it was suitable for the 
" bugaram " and the " wobbaklan." These instruments 
were twirled round with great force, and the string attached 
would indeed need to be strong. Then, also, nets for large 
game or dugong needed great strength. Those for the 
latter were formed of big meshes, and were sewn up in the 
shape of huge pockets ; they were hand nets, and were 
finished off at the top by two pieces of stick ending in a 
handle. When making nets the natives used to measure 
to get the correct size of mesh. 

Dugong were only to be caught at certain seasons, 
and as the time approached the blacks would be on 
the lookout. Seeing little bits of seaweed floating 
on the water, they knew it was time to expect what 
they awaited, for this seaweed spoke to them as it were. 


with the message that the dugong were coming. (Feeding 
on seaweed as they came along, they naturcdly broke off 
little bits.) Two or thiee men would, therefdre, climb 
tall trees near at hand, and keep watch, for with the tide 
the dugong often came in, making towards the banks near 
the shore, where they got more seaweed. Coming up to 
make their pecuUar blowing sound as they swam in, the 
creatures would, of course, expose themselves to the gaze 
of the watchers on the trees, who would at once let their 
companions know without a word or sound by signalling 
and pointing out the direction with their hands. Then 
two blacks would get into a canoe and paddle quietly out, 
so as to get behind the dugong, other nine or ten would go 
with their large hand-nets out into the water up to their 
necks, on the banks, and they would stand there all in line, 
each holding an end of the other's net, as well as his own, 
so making a regular wall. Then, when the creatures came 
up to blow again near this trap, the men in the canoe would 
hit the water with sticks and make a great noise, so frightening 
their prey towards the nets. When one got into the pocket 
of a net, the men would all help and hold on, till the creature 
rolled itself round and round, and so got drowned. .^^Some- 
times they would catch an old and a young dugong in different 
nets, and sometimes just one huge chap, who would be 
too strong to hold, and^would^have to be let go. However, 
in this case next day they would j)robably^find him floating 
drowned, rolled up in the net.j 

When a dugong or " yangon," (yung-un) was pulled ashore it 
would be roUed up on to dry ground. The aborigines had a 
peculiar superstition that should the gins see a dugong before it 
was cut up it would not be^^^fat — would _^not, in fact,jbe in 
good condition. The gins knew to keep out of the way when 
one was captured. Another idea^was^that a^twig or^^piece 
of grass must be put at once in each earhoie, or else the 
creature (_would be no good. Then a large fire was made, 
and the^dugong rolled intout,^and more fire placed on top, 
till the carcass was half-cooked. Then head and tail were 
cut off, the back opened down the middle, and the blubber 
and flesh taken from the ribs in a large flake. The whole 


carcass would be cut up after that, and divided out, 
the gins, who were then allowed to come along with their 
pickaninnies, getting their share, and a rare old feast was 
indulged in, after the further cooking of the pieces. 

Talking of dugong, here is an incident which really happened 
in after years, when the blacks used the white man's harpoon : 
The scene was Amity Point," Stradbroke Island. Five 
blacks went out in a whale boat to catch dugong, and they 
succeeded in harpooning one off Pelican Bank, but when 
the creature had taken the whole length of rope, he broke it, 
and made off. The blacks, who were very excited, pulled 
after him with all their strength, one man, known as Scroggins, 
standing up watching. He could see the dugong plainly, 
as the water was shallow with a white sandy bottom, and 
at last by diving down he managed to catch the end of the 
rope, holding to it bravely while the dugong pulled him along. 
When the creature came up to blow, Scroggins came up also, 
and when it went down, Scroggins went down, and so on for 
about eight hundred yards, when the wounded dugong gave 
in, and lay on the top of the water. In the meantime the 
four in the boat had done their best to keep up, and they 
now came upon poor Scroggins lying quite still with the rope 
in his hands, so lifted him on board, still holding to it. Then' 
they hauled in the rope till able to harpoon the dugong 
again, and so kill and take him ashore. 

Scroggins was none the worse for his jaunt through the water, 
though he swallowed a lot at each ducking. He said he was 
determined to hold to his prize or get drowned in the attempt, 
arid when all the blacks were gathered together for the feast, 
they praised him for his pluck, also laughed till tired at the 
way he went up and under with the dugong. The incident 
was told and described always at any corrobboree or meeting 
afterwards, and was a source of great amusement. One 
of these five blacks (" Noggi ") is alive yet at Stradbroke. 

Porpoises. — The blacks never by any chance killed por- 
poises, for, they said, they helped to catch fish. When my 
father was a boy, his father sent men down to Moreton Island 
to work at the pilot station there. Once he accompanied these 
men to the island, and while therewent out with the blacks to 


see how they caught tailor fish. These fish come inland 
in schools like sea mullet. The blacks there called them 
" punba," and further north " dai-arh." They came in in 
great numbers, generally at the time of westerly winds, 
when the sea would be calm. From Father's experience 
at that island, he says it certainly looked as though the 
porpoises understood, and were the friends of the blacks. 
The following is what he told me : — 

" The sea would be calm, and there would be no sign 
anywhere of a porpoise (" TalobiUa ") ; the blacks would 
go long the beach jobbing with their spears into the sand 
under the water, making a queer noise, also beating the 
water with the spears. By-and-by, as if in response, porpoises 
would be seen as they rose to the surface making for the shore 
and in front of them schools of tailor fish. It may seem won- 
derful, but they were apparently driving the fish towards 
the land. When they came near, the blacks would run out 
into the surf, and with their spears would job down here 
and there at the fish, at times even getting two on one spear, 
so plentiful were they. As each fish was speared, it was 
thrown to shore, and there picked up by the gins.*?'The 
porpoises would actually be swimming in and out amongst 
all this, apparently quite unafraid of the darkies. Indeed, 
they seemed rather to be all on good terms, and I have with 
my own eyes more than once seen a blackfellow hold out a 
fish on a spear to a porpoise, and the creature take and eat 
it. One old porpoise wus well known and spoken of fondly. 
He had a piece of root, or stick of some sort, stuck in his 
back, having evidently at one time run into something, 
and by this he was recognised, for it could be seen plainly 
The blacks told me it had been in him for years, and they 
declared that the great man of the island had put it there, 
thus making him the big fellow of the tribe of porpoises. 
I have seen this creature take fish from a spear, and the 
white men working on the island told me they often saw 
him knocking about with the blacks. At all times porpoises 
would be spoken of with affection by these Moreton Island 
blacks (the ngugi tribe), who said they never failed when 
called to drive in fish to them." 


Since writing the above I have come across the'jjwritten 
statements of two early authorities on this same subject. 
Mr. John Campbell, after describing the way the blacks 
signalled to the porpoises, etc., says : — 

" Doubtless this statement about the porpoises and blacks 
fishing together will be pronounced — as I myself did upon 
hearing it — to be a myth : in fact all nonsense ; but further 
inquiry and observation has convinced me that it was a fact, 
and any persons doubting it can convince themselves by going 
to Amity Point during the fishing season. The blacks even 
pretend to own particular porpoises, and nothing will offend 
them more than to attempt to injure one of their porpoises." 

Mr. Henry Stuart Russell, in " Genesis of Queensland " 
(page 290), talking of a scene he saw enacted at Amity Point, 
but no other place, says : — 

" It was so curious, that the evidence of my own senses 
alone permits me to mention it. Cause and effect, however, 
were, in the matter, quite intelligible. 

" We know that porpoises drive the smaller fry into shallows 
in which they are able more easily to prey upon them. The 
affrighted shoals leap when so pursued out of the water 
with loud splashings ; these their hidden pursuers follow, 
as stock-keepers round up and keep their cattle together. 

" At Amity Point, if the watchful natives can detect 
one of the shoals so common in the offing there, a few of 
the men would at once walk into the water and beat it with 
their spears. The wary porpoises would be seen presently 
coming in from seawards, fully alive and accustomed to the 
summons, driving in the shoal towards the shelving beach. 
Scores of the tribe would be ready with their scoop nets 
to rush in and capture all they could, but not before the men 
who had summoned their ministering servants had speared 
some good-sized fish, which was held out, and taken off the 
end of the weapon by the porpoise nearest at hand. There 
was one old fellow, said to be very old ; as tame — ^with those 
blacks — as a pussy cat ! had a large patch of barnacles or 
some fungus on his head, and a name which they believed 
he knew and answered to." 


Mullet. — In winter sea mullet (although spears were used 
more often than nets) were caught on the coast in some- 
what the same way as dugong were captured. A pair of 
blacks would climb a tree, and so watch for the schools 
of fitsh as they came in to the shore. The natives had wonder- 
ful eyesight, and nothing would escape them. When they 
saw the fish coming, they made signs to their companions 
as to direction, etc., and a dozen or more men would go 
into the water, with hand nets, and when the fish were about 
twelve yards or so from the shore, other blacks would throw 
stones and sticks in great quantities into the water, landing 
them seawards of the shoal. This would frighten the fish 
and cause them to shoot in towards the shore, the men in the 
water would quickly rush forward, meeting in a circle, and 
the fish were tiius caught in their nets. Father has seen the 
blackfeUows hardly able to draw their nets ashore, they 
were so full. 

Of course fish was very much more plentiful in those 
days, and the natives were also very cunning in the way they 
managed things. Great feasts they would have in the mullet 
(" andakal ") season, catching more than they could eat. 
Those over they did not waste, however, but would save for 
future use. A soft grass, not unlike kangaroo grass, grew 
on the coast, and this they would gather and twist into 
fine ropes, which would be wound round and round each 
fish very closely, so that the flies could not get at them. 
These fish would then be placed in diUies, and hung up on 
bushes or trees near the camp, and they would keep so for 
a long time. Father has tasted them a fortnight old, and they 
were then quite fresh and sweet. Of course, it was cold 

Fish were scaled by the blacks with the " donax " shell, 
or " yugari " (the native name), and then put whole on 
a nice fire of mostly red-hot coals. When about cooked, 
a finger would be shoved in below the head at the fin, and the 
while inside drawn off, leaving the fish beautifully clean 
and nice. Fish were always cooked so. 

Fish in creeks were caught in this wise : The narrow 
and shallow parts of a creek would be blocked by stakes and 



bushes put across, and in this wall of bushes two or three 
openings would be left wide enough to permit of a black- 
fellow standing at each of them with his hand net ready. 
(Of course, nets for fish were much smaller than those for 
dugong.) They would not go near, however, until the tide 
was on the turn, when they went and stood up to their necks 
in the water, ready to catch the fish. As a net began to 
fill the owner would close the mouth, and hfting up the pocket 
part, he would catch hold of each fish in turn, and, putting 
the head in his mouth, would give it a bite through the net 
to kill it. All the fish being killed, and so unable to escape, 
the man placed the net again in the opening, and stood ready 
for more, and so they went on till the tide had gone down, 
emptying their nets now and again, if they got too heavy, 
by throwing the fish to the bank. 

With the constant use of their fishing nets, a hard tumour 
grew on the outer bone of the wrist of each hand of the men. 
One could always tell an old fisherman by this mark, which 
was caused by the handle of the net continually rubbing 
the bone. 

Women never fished in the old times. Since, however, 
the blacks learnt the use of the white man's lines, the gins 
were great ones for fishing, and my father has often been 
amused by a sort of clicking noise they made with their mouth, 
after throwing the line out. Laughed at, and asked why 
they did this, they replied that it encouraged the fish to bite. 
For the same reason they also tapped with the end of the rod 
on the water two or three times immediately the hne was 
thrown out. Men would do this, too, at times. 

A fishing net was called " mandin," and the portion of the 
North Pine River near where the railway bridge now crosses 
was known by that name, for it was a great place for fish, 
and the blacks used to have a breakwater of bushes buUt 

One way the aboriginals had of capturing fresh-water 
fish was by poisoning the water with a certain plant (Poly- 
gonum hydropiper). This plant — " tanggul " — ^which is not 
very large, and grows on the edge of scrubs or in swampy 
places, was pounded up with sticks, and then thrown into 


the waterhole, and the water stirred up with the feet. Soon 
after the fish would seem to be affected, and would rise to the 
surface wrong side up, when they would be caught with the 
hands and thrown on to the bank. 

Eels. — ^These were caught by nets, in salt water. Two 
men would block the mouth of a small creek by holding 
hand nets on the ground, and other men would go some dis- 
tance up and return down the creek, muddying the water 
as they came by moving about their feet. This would drive 
the eels down to the nets. In fresh water eels were gradually 
caught in times of drought, when the water was low, by men 
mudd5'ing the water, and feeling for them with their feet. 
At other times they would dam a small portion of water with 
mud banks, leaving openings in each wall, and then, when 
the eels (or fish) went through, the holes would be blocked 
and small hand nets used to scoop up the fish ; or they were 
speared. Sometimes spears would have three or four prongs, 
which were all tied firmly to the centre handle. Often a 
blackfellow, going out alone, would spear fish in clear water. 

Crabs. — ^These were caught by a long hooked stick. It 
would be put in a hole in the bank of a creek at low water, 
and the crab (" yirin ") felt for and pulled out. The blacks 
could easily tell if there was a crab in the hole by the marks 
it had left in the mud round about the mouth. Crabs were 
carried in dillies. Always in these dillies a lot of small 
mangrove twigs were put. This, the blacks said, prevented 
them fighting, and so breaking their claws. Even of late 
years, when the natives used bags given them by white people, 
they always put in these twigs. 

I may mention here that the Turrbal tribe called the man- 
grove " tintchi" and it is interesting to know that quite a 
different variety grew at Noosa, the blacks there calling 
it " pirri," the name they gave their fingers. This was be- 
cause of the peculiar finger-like roots which seemed to clutch 
the soil. 

Women and men both caught crabs, which they ate 
roasted, as they did fish. 

Oysters (" kin-yingga "), Mussels, Etc.— The blacks 
would eat oysters raw, but were very fond of them roasted. 


too, probably because they opened so easily then. In the old 
days the natives had no idea whatever of boiling. Periwinkles 
(" niggar ") they would roast, also mussels, such as the 
" yugari," and a larger fresh-water mussel. The latter 
they sought for by going into water holes, and feeling all 
round the sides among the weeds with their feet. 
f- Cobra. — This was another food the blacks were fond of. 
The Brisbane tribe called it " kan-yi." It is a long and white 
grub which grows in old logs the alt water gets at, and was 
swallowed raw like an oyster. The aborigines got it out 
with stone tomahawks, by cutting up the wood it was in, 
and then knocking the pieces against a log, so dislodging 
the grubs which fell out. These were gathered up and 
put into a " pikki," and so carried to camp. Generally 
gins or^old men got this cobra. They all took care to have 
plenty^coming on by cutting swamp oak saplings and carrying 
theseVon to a mud bank dry at low water, and piling them 
up there. 'i;,These piles were some two feet high and six 
feet^de. ;^i Father has seen them made in the Brisbane River, 
in Breakfast Creek, in the North and South Pine Rivers, 
Maroochy, and Mooloolah Rivers, and several creeks. The 
grubs in the swamp oaks were considered the largest and 
best, although plenty were got from other trees which fell 
in the water. The swamp oaks grew near the water, and 
so were easily got at. These piles would be dry at low water 
always, and covered at high, and the natives would visit 
them in about a year's time, making fresh ones then to take 
their place. 


Grubs as Food — Dr. Leichhardt and Thomas Archer Tasting Them — Ants — 
Native Bees — Seeking for Honey— Climbing with a Vine — A Disgusting 
Practice — Sweet Concoction — Catching and Eating Snakes— Iguanas and 
Lizards — Another Superstition — Hedgehogs — Tortoises — Turtles. 

^RUBS. — It was, of course, the coastal blacks 
who made these piles for cobra ; the inlanders 
got grubs in trees. Large white ones were found 
principally in dead hickory trees in the scrubs ; 
they were cut out with stone tomahawks. Then bluegum 
saplings often contained grubs. The natives knew when 
they did by noticing dust on the ground, so, climbing 
the sapling to where the dust came out, they would knock 
the bark off at the hole, shove a small hooked twig 
up this till the grub was felt, and, with a twist, puU it out. 
These grubs were sometimes roasted, sometimes eaten raw. 
Other grubs were found in the grass-tree, or Xanthorrhcea 
(" dakkabin "), at its base, and always a native knew of their 
presence by the dead leaves in the centre. Kicking the 
tree with his foot, it would break off at the bottom, and four 
or five grubs were sometimes found. These latter were always 
eaten raw. 

With regard to this practice the blacks had of eating 
grubs. Dr. Leichhardt says : — 

" They seem to have tasted everything, from the highest 
top of the bunya tree and the seaforthia and cabbage palm, 
to the grub which lies in the rotten tree of the bush, or feeds 
on the lower stem or root of the Xanthorrhcea. By the bye, 
I tasted this grub, and it tastes very well, particularly in 
chewing the skin, which contains much fat. It has a very 
nutty taste, which is impaired, however, by that of the 
rotten wood upon which the animal lives." 

My father says he has often eaten this grub in days gone 
past, and, what is more, declares he liked it. Once, when a 


boy, he was out in the scrub where Toowong is now, with a 
couple of natives, and the latter came across some grubs 
and took them to where several sawyers were at work, to 
roast them. A man named Jack was awfully disgusted, 
and said he felt ill at the mere thought of eating such things ! 
However, when the white boy took one, he followed suit 
after some persuasion, and liked the morsel so well that 
he ate more. In the end that man grew so fond of grubs 
that he would give the blackfellows tobacco to find him some. 
Of course, there were different varieties — some more 
eatable than others. 

The following is an extract from an interesting book printed 
in Yokohama — " Recollections of a Rambling Life," by 
Thomas Archer, whose family and name are well-known 
in Queensland. 

" Our way lay for several days through the trackless bush ; 
we were sometimes pretty hard up for food, and to Dusky 
Bob belongs the honour of first initiating me into a proper 
appreciation of the luscious and delicate tree grub, which 
he cut with his tomahawk, out of the stems of the forest 
oaks as .we wandered along. When roasted in the ashes 
these grubs make a dish fit for gods and men, and even when 
raw they are not to be sneezed at, if one is only hungry 

Ants, Etc. — Father has never seen the blacks about here 
eat ants of any kind or their larvae. March flies, however, 
were eaten (principally by children) — at least, not the flies 
themselves, but a httle bag of honey they contained, and 
which was pulled out. Blacks were by no means dainty 
in their tastes ! They also ate the contents of wasp's nests, 
of the large, round, honeycomb kind, when the insects were 
nearly mature. A nest would be approached quietly, a 
burning torch of the tea-tree bark held beneath to dislodge 
the clinging wasps, and then it was pulled, and held over a 
fire tiU half roasted, when the contents were knocked out 
and eaten. 

Native Bees. — ^There were two kinds of native honey. 
One called " kabbai " was pure white and very sweet, and 
was found always in small, dead, hollow trees. " Kii-ta " 


was dark honey, of a somewhat sour taste, and might be found 
in any kind of tree ; it was much more plentiful than the other. 
My father gave the latter name to the Government for the 
hill near One-tree Hill, as in the old days that was a great 
place for native honey, and it has been mispronounced 
and spelt " Coot-tha." Of course, when the English bees 
came their honey was taken too, and it was remarkable 
how, though they were used to their own harmless bees, 
the natives did not seem to mind being stung, but would 
unconcernedly pull out the sting. They had then also the 
Enghshman's tomahawks. These saved them trouble, for 
their own took a long time to prepare. 

In seeking for honey, if a dull day, tiny particles of dirt 
the bees dropped were looked for at the roots of trees. These 
particles were very minute, and the aborigines would ga 
on their knees looking for them, blowing leaves, etc., gently 
aside in their search. If found, the tree would be ascended 
and the honey taken. On a bright summer's day the bees 
themselves were looked for ; the natives would shade their 
eyes with their hands, and gEize up the tree, and the bees, 
if there, were seen flying round the hole. If a nest were foimd 
too late in the day to admit of its being robbed, the finder 
would put a cut in the tree with his tomahawk, or print a. 
footmark in the soil at the base, or probably jut a stick 
would be stuck up against the trunk. This showed the nest 
had been discovered, and no one else would touch it. The 
man would either send some one next day. or come himself. 

To climb trees the natives used lengths of a scrub vine 
(Flagellaria indica) they called " jmrol." A length was cut 
about twelve feet long, and after the outer bark was peeled 
off with the teeth it would become quite supple, and a loop 
was made at one end. When about to climb, this vine 
was put round the tree, the loop end would be held in the- 
left hand and the other in the right, then with his right foot 
placed against the trunlc, and his body thrown backwards- 
the native would commence to ascend by a succession of 
springs. At every spring the vine was jerked upwards, 
and so with wonderful rapidity the ascent was accomplished,. 


This helper in the way of dimbing was called " yurol," 
after the vine it was principally cut from, and each native 
was very careful of his after finishing with it for the day ; 
he would soak it in water and so keep it supple and unlikely 
to break. On some trees notches or steps were cut to assist 
the climbing, and when this was the case the unlooped end 
of the vine was twisted round the man's thigh, then round 
his calf, and from there it went to his foot, where he held it 
firmly with his big toe, so leaving his right hand free to cut 
the steps in which to place his feet as he went up. Sometimes 
a bees' nest was found half way up in the barrel of a hollow 
tree, and when the man came to this he would pause, and 
cutting rests for his feet, would proceed with his free hand 
to cut out the comb. Climbing without using his tomahawk, 
the man would generally carry it in his belt, but sometimes 
it was held by the muscles of the neck — head on one side. 

With regard to honey, the aborigines had a disgusting 
practice, which I shall describe. They carried with them 
a piece of stuff resembling an old rag, which was really chewed 
bark fibre. Bark for the purpose was generally cut from 
the stinging tree (Laportea sp.), which has since disappeared 
from these parts — the root bark was used for making string. 
The natives called this tree " braggain," and, as was the 
custom, the chewed up pieces of fibre went by the same name. 
To make the latter, bark cut in lengths was pounded till 
the rough outer surface came away, then beaten again till 
it became soft, when the darkies chewed it into the sem- 
blance of a rag. This ra^ a man always carried with him 
in his dilly when he climbed a tree for honey. Coming 
to the bees' nest, he would cut the honeycomb out and let 
it fall to those below, who deftly caught it. If after eating 
what they wanted there was some over, it was put into a 
" pikki " ready to carry away. The man on the tree also 
ate some, then, when all had been taken, he wiped out the 
hollow limb with the " braggain," which soaked up all the 
remaining honey, and afterwards this rag was carefully 
placed back in his dilly ready for future use. It would perhaps 
"be wanted several times again, or they might not find another 
nest that day. When back in camp the " braggain " was 


soaked in water in a " pikki," then loosely wrung out, and 
this made the water quite sweet. The rag would then be 
passed round to each in the hut, and, disgusting as it may 
seem, all took a suck or chew in turn till it had become dry. 
It would then be put in the " pikki " again, and so on till 
the water was used up. Each group possessing a " braggain " 
would do the same, but there woidd be those who had none, 
and the fortunate ones would remember these, for at all 
times food was shared. White people blessed with a large 
supply of this world's goods have not always this savage; 
(?) instinct " to share." 

Another sweet concoction Wcis made in summer time,, 
when the grass tree and what we call honej^uckle were 
in bloom. Early in the morning, when the dew was 
on the grass,, and the air sweet with perfumes, the old men 
and women would go forth, each carrying a " pikki " full 
of water, while the younger people went to hunt. Wending 
their way, some to the ridges where the grass-trees grew, 
others to the low flats where the small honeysuckle would 
be found, they went from flower to flower despoiling them 
all of their sweetness by dipping them up and down in the 
" pikki " of water tUl the latter became sweet. Then they 
turned them campwards, and, arriving there, would gather 
in groups to enjoy themselves — all, young and old alike, 
having their turn with the rag. A drink might be taken 
from the " pikki," but this used the precious fluid up too 
quickly. It was greatly relished, and was called " minti " 
after the small species of honeysuckle (Banksia amula), 
whose flower was used in its manufactmre. The flower 
of the larger kind (Banksia latifoUa) was also used, but not 
so much. The blacks called this one " bambara," and the 
wood from it was the specieil wood used in the making of a 
" bugaram " or a " wobbalkan." 

Snakes. — ^A carpet snake was called " Kabul," hence the 
name Caboolture, which meant to the Brisbane tribe " a 
place of carpet snakes," for they were plentiful there in the 
old days. These snakes were found in swamps or anywhere, 
often up on staghom ferns in the scrub. The natives were 
at times helped in their search for game by the cry of birds,. 


as they gathered- round a snake, for instance. Carpet snakes 
were caught by the neck, and Father has several times seen 
a native catch and then feel a carpet snake, and if he were 
poor let him go. Other snakes were hit on the head with a 
stick, and then on the back to break it. 

A black snake was called " tumgu," brown snake " kural- 
bang," death-adder " mulunkun," and so on. The natives 
were more frightened generally of a death-adder than of any 
of the others, seemingly because of how it could jump, and 
they would not go near one. Once when my father was a 
boy in Brisbane, while playing near where the Valley Union 
Hotel now stands with a number of blackboys, throwing 
small spears, etc., he almost sat down upon a death-adder. 
The boys saw it in time to prevent him, and made a great 
row, calling to him to " Look out." He was so near the 
reptile, however, that it was a wonder he escaped. He 
vsashed to kiU it, but the blacks kept him back, saying it 
would " jump," and they themselves did the deed by throwing 
waddies at it. 

Snakes, iguanas, and lizards were put on hot cinders 
and roasted whole. The natives never attempted to clean 
any of their food beforehand, as we do. Roasted thus they 
were much more easily cleaned when half-cooked. Sometimes 
when opened a carpet snake would contain as many as twenty- 
five or twenty-six eggs, and an iguana perhaps a dozen ; 
these would be taken out and probably roasted further. 
Fat, too, was greatly relished, and some would be saved 
for the body greasing spoken of. 

Iguanas and Lizards. — ^The small kind of iguana was- 
called " barra," while the larger one was " gi-wer." They 
were found at times in hollow logs ; the natives would look 
for them there, feeling with a stick, then when an iguana 
was felt, his distance up the log was measured and he was- 
cut out. If when chased at any time an iguana ran up a 
tree before he was captured, a man would climb up after 
him and either kill him there or send him down to the death 
awaiting beneath. Dogs would help in the chase after 
these reptiles. When one was killed, the natives would 
never by any chance proceed to cook him till they smashed 



each leg with a waddy, and also beat along his neck and tail. 
Father's curiosity was raised to know why they should 
do this when the thing was dead, and he found it was a 
superstition with them — " He never can run away again,'' 
they said. Iguanas' eggs were sought for, and were found 
generally near ants' nests in soft soil, covered up in the 
earth ; the blacks would find them by the tracks the creature 

Large lizards of several kinds and their eggs were eaten 
in the same way, and some of them were considered dainties. 
A large " water-lizard," which sat on a log in the water, 
and if any disturbance came along jumped in, was called 
" magil " (moggill), and here we have the meaning of the 
name Moggill Creek. 

Hedgehogs (" kaggarr "). — ^The natives could tell when 
these had passed by scratching marks they made, and would 
track them tiU discovered. Dogs would help. They would 
be found on the edge ,of swamps, or in scrubs, or ferny 
flats ; often under a log, or in a hollow one, when they were 
cut out. They were roasted, and the prickles knocked 
off. Sometimes these prickles were kept for piercing 'possum 
rugs sewn by the women and old men. 

Tortoises. — A tortoise was called " binkin," and " Bin- 
kinba," was the native name for New Farm, which meant 
a place of the land tortoise. Father, as a boy, used to go 
there with the blacks to catch tortoises in the swamps. Who, 
seeing New Farm now, would think it possible ? What 
we call Pinkenba the blacks knew as " Dumben." The native 
name for New Farm has been pronounced incorrectly and 
given to the wrong place. The land tortoises were caught 
in fresh waterholes with nets, or in swamps just with the hand. 
When caught they were roasted whole l5dng on their backs, 
and when cooked the shell uppermost was removed, while 
that of the back served to catch the gravy, which was 
supped up with great relish. 

Turtles. — ^These were cooked in the same way, on their 
backs to save the juices, and the flesh was cut up and divided 
round. Great quantities of turtle were seen in the old times 
at Humpybong, and they were also plentiful in Bribie Passage. 


There were no steamers or white men to disturb them, and the 
natives had it all their own way. To catch a turtle they would 
go out on a calm day, three or four of them in a canoe, stealing- 
along quietly and gently over the water, one man standing 
up in front on the lookout. As soon as the turtle came to 
the surface near them, the man standing would dive into 
the water near where it had appeared, and, if possible, catch 
and turn it over on its back, so making it quite powerless. 
Another occupant of the boat would immediately follow 
this man, taking with him a rope made for the purpose, and 
he would take his turn under the water in holding the turtle 
while the first man came up to breathe. And so each man 
in the boat would have a turn if the water were deep, and 
in the end the turtle would be got to the surface with rop& 
attached to a flipper. It would then receive a blow on the 
head, and was towed ashore, where a big fire was made ready 
to receive it, after its head and flippers were removed. A 
turtle was called " bo-wai-ya." Its eggs were found in the 


Kangaroos— How Caught and Eaten — Their Skins — The Aboriginal's Won- 
derful Tracking Powers — Wallaby, Kangaroo Rat, Paddymelon, and 
Bandicoot — 'Possum — 'Possum Rugs — Native Bear — Squirrel — Hunting 
on Bowen Terrace^Glass House Mountain — Native Cat and Dog — 
Flying Fox. 

pANGAROOS. — Kcingaroos were caught in the 
forests with two or three inch mesh nets, 
^^and these were made from fibre, in the same 
way as those for dugong ; but instead of 
being sewn up into hand nets they were just made in 
one long piece, standing some four feet high, and when 
used were stretched across a pocket, bounded by a creek, 
in the forest, the ends being tied to trees. In this pocket 
kangaroos were very Ukely feeding, and a number of natives, 
spreading out ia the shape of a circle, would hunt them 
towards the net by beating their waddies and making a great 
noise. A dozen or two blacks, ready near the net, and 
armed with spears and waddies, knocked the kangaroos 
down, or speared them as they became entangled. Blacks' 
dogs were never much good in catching kangaroos. 

Sometimes a couple of men would lie hidden near where 
they expected these creatures to come for a drink, and spears 
were then made use of. At other times, kangaroos were 
driven into waterholes, and there speared. Again, they 
might be tracked, and sneaked up to in the extreme heat 
of the day, while they were resting in the shade of trees. 
Natives always hunted going against the wind, for otherwise 
their prey would get scent of them. To encourage kangaroos 
to come about, my father has known the blacks set fire 
to the grass ; the marsupials appreciated the young and tender 
shoots coming up after a bush fire. 

An " old man," or large kangaroo, was always skinned 
for the sake of his hide, which was taken off with the help of 


sharp stone knives or shells. When off, the skin was stretched 
out, and pegged on the ground with small sharpened sticks, 
then wood ashes were rubbed into it, and it was left to dry 
in the sun. When cured the bare side was ornamented 
with a sort of scroll pattern done with pieces of sharp flint 
stones, then rubbed with charcoal, or coloured red with 
" kutchi." Kangaroo rugs were used for lying on, not for 
coverings. Each skin was used singly, they were not sewn 
together as 'possum skins were. 

If kangciroo skins were not worth keeping the animal was 
first singed in the fire till all hair was off, then roasted, and 
when nearly cooked opened and cleaned out, and large 
red-hot stones were shoved into the inside to help the cooking. 
The carcass was kept on its back to preserve the gravy. 
An " old man " kangaroo was called " groman," while an 
ordinary one was " murri." 

The aboriginals used to possess really wonderful tracking 
powers. Some people have the idea that they could track 
by means of a sense of smell, but that was not so ; what 
really helped them was their marvellous eyesight. Father 
has been with them while they followed a wounded kangaroo, 
which had previously got away with a spear in its body. 
They followed the track for nearly a quarter of a mile, just 
walking along and pointing out to the white boy as they 
went a spot of blood on a blade of grass here and there, 
which he could hardly see, and at other times a track in the 
grass which he could not see at all. They went on thus 
till they came to a large flat rock on the side of a ridge, and 
here they went down on their knees and commenced to blow 
on the rock. Father asked what they did that f or ? " We 
want see which way that fellow go 'cross." At last they called 
to him to look, and said, " That fellow been go over here." 
The white boy looked, and saw, when they blew on the rock, 
tiny loosened particles of moss moving. Evidently as 
the kangaroo passed that way his feet displaced the minute 
leaves of the moss. They had not much further to go before 
they came to the animal, lying dead with the spear through 
his body. 


I have mentioned this habit of stooping and blowing 
with regard to the search for a bees' nest, and one can under- 
stand how the practice has been mistaken for the " smelling " 
of scent. The only animd found by the sense of smell 
was the scrub 'possum, which is much larger than the forest 
one, and also much darker in colour ; it has a very strong 
scent of its own. Without seeing these, Father has been 
aware of their presence often in the scrub when getting 

Wallaby (" bug-wal "), Kangaroo Rat (" baerun "), 


These were all caught, killed, and cooked in much the same way 
as the kangaroo. When first coming to North Pine, Father 
has seen about fifty blacks go into the scrub on the river 
just below his home, and there catch over twenty paddymelons 
in their nets at one trial. Pockets in the scrubs were blocked 
in the same way as those in the forests. 

Opossum. — ^The forest 'possum was called " ku-pi," and 
the scrub one " kappolla." As mentioned, the whereabouts 
of the latter was often discovered by its scent. 'Possums 
were captured during the day, not by moonlight, as they are 
by white people. The blacks disUked having their night's 
rest disturbed ; indeed, they seemed also rather afraid 
of the night. The only food they sought at night was fish — 
the old fishermen always took advantage of a good tide then. 
As for 'possums and native bears, etc., what jolly nights 
they must have had, when the blacks allowed them to skip 
and caper about unmolested ! But they made up for it, 
poor things, and paid dearly for their fun when the day came, 
and they were dragged forth unmercifully to their death. 

Sometimes the whereabouts of an opossum, or any animal 
which slept in a hollow Umb, was found by means of the birds 
which clustered round the hole proclaiming loudly their 
find to the world. At other times the blacks would look 
for fresh clawmarks on the base of tree trunks. How they 
did so, their white friend often wondered, but they seemed 
to be able to tell whether tj^ie clawmarks were those of a cat, 
a bear, an opossum, a squirrel, or what. Climbing the tree 
to where the 'possum was, if by putting their hand down 


the hollow limb they could reach him, they did so, and 
dragging him quickly forth, would give him a blow on the 
head and send him flying to the ground. If, however, the 
'possum was beyond their reach, they would perhaps feel with 
a stick for his whereabouts, and then cut him out, or by ham- 
mering away on the wall of his retreat, they frightened 
him up to where he was easily got at. 

'Possum skins were greatly prized as coverings when 
the nights were cold. They were sewn together, and so 
made nice rugs. They were sewn with string, which was 
really kangaroo-taU sinew. This sinew was kept on purpose 
for sewing, and when wanted was damped to make it soft. 
The holes for the string were pierced either with hedgehog 
quills or sharp bones. It was only in the winter that the 
natives troubled to preserve the skins, however, for in the 
summer the hair came out. 

These 'possum rugs the gins carried from place to place 
with them. They were folded in half, and then hung roimd 
the neck, kept in place there by a string put through the 
fold. Over the rug a dilly was ^ways hung, containing fish, 
birds, or food of any kind, also bones of the dead, etc. This 
dilly had a long string handle which passed over the shoulders, 
and so helped to keep the rug firm, in fact when there was 
a Httle pickanniny to carry, the string through the fold was 
done away with, the dilly handle being all that was required. 
The child was put in between the rug and the woman's 
back, and the dilly, with its contents, hanging below the 
infant, though on the outside of the rug, prevented him 
slipping down. The furry side of the rug was next the 
child, who only showed his little black head, and when a 
mother wished to get him out from this snug retreat, she 
reached over, and taking hold of a little arm, hauled him by 
it over her shoulder. This was done no matter how young the 
child, and the treatment seemed to have no ill effects. When 
children were older, but still too young to walk, they were 
carried on the shoulders — one leg on each side of the neck. 
Men sometimes took their share in carrying the children x 
so, and this was how they carried sick people. 


Native Bears. — ^These were caught as 'possums were. 
As food they were much appreciated. The Turrbal tribe 
called them " dumbripi," and the Bribie tribe " kul-la." 
The latter name evidently accounts for the " koala " of 
the white man. 

Squirrels. — The large black flying squirrel was called 
■' panko," and the small gray one " chibur." Squirrels, 
the moment they heard any noise, would run out of their 
hiding place, and fly down in a slanting direction to the 
butt of another tree, up which they would scamper — they 
did not wait to be pulled out. Father says it was great sport 
chasing squirrels. Often as a boy he went hunting with the 
blacks on what is now Bowen Terrace. He has seen them 
there get two or three 'possums out of one large turpentine 
tree, and sometimes a large flying squirrel, and then there 
would be the " sugar-bags." 

The flying squirrel was always the best fun. When a 
native climbed up the tree, the squirrel would hear him coming, 
and, running out of his hole, would fly down to the base 
of another tree. If the blacks on the ground did not succeed 
in knocking him down before he got beyond their reach 
they would climb the second tree, and then afterwards 
perhaps a third, and so on, till in the end the poor thing 
was captured. Boys always think that sort of thing fun, and 
my father, as a boy, was no exception. He says that many 
a happy day has he spent with his dark companions hunting 
on Bowen Terrace, Tenerifie, Bowen Hills,^-Spring Hill, Red 
Hill, and all round where the hospital now stands. What 
changes can take place in a lifetime ! It must surely seem 
strange to look back on a time when one hunted where now 
houses crowd and trams run, and to think of the fish and 
crabs one caught in the quiet creeks and rivers which railways 
now span. Breakfast Creek, near where the Enoggera 
Railway crosses (Barrambin) was a great place for fish. 

At a certain time of the year the small flying squirrel 
(" chibur ") had a habit of biting the bark of the trunk of a 
tree : one would see a tree all marked so. The natives 
called one of the Glass House Mountains " Chirburkakan." 


" Kak-an " meant " biting," hence the mountain was called 
after a " biting squirrel." 

Native Cat and Dog. — Native cats were caught and eaten. 
Dingoes, however, so far as my father's experience went, were 
not eaten : but the natives would capture the pups foi 
taming. Often all round a hollow log tracks would be seen 
where the youngsters had come out to play, and so the natives 
knew where to look. A native dog was called " mirri," 
and native cat " mibur." 

Flying Fox. — Flying foxes were caught always in the day- 
time at their camping place in the scrub. Two or three 
blacks would climb trees the foxes were sleeping on, carrying 
with them about a dozen small waddies made for the purpose. 
Standing on branches the natives would frighten the foxes, 
and then as they flew hurl the waddies at them, knocking 
great numbers easily, for these creatures will not fly far away 
in the daytime from trees they are camping on, but circle 
round and round. Men and women standing beneath the trees 
picked the foxes up as they fell, and all the time the creatures 
made a frightful row, so that one could hardly hear oneself 

A flying fox was singed on the fire, then rubbed all over 
till free from hair, when it was roastted, and when nearly 
done a native put his thumb in between the neck and breast- 
bone, and pulling these apart, took away the waste parts. 
After that the fox was put again on the fire to cook further. 
A flying fox was called " gramman." St. Helena was a great 
camping place for them in those days, and the blacks from 
Wynnum used to go across in their canoes to catch them there, 
watching for calm weather both to go and return. If the 
return was not delayed, they would bring back foxes cooked 
ready for the companions left behind, but they went pre- 
pared with fishing nets, etc., as the wind might keep them 
there some time. 


Emus — Scrub Turkeys — Swans— Uucks — Cockatoos and Parrots— Quail — 
Root and Other Plant Food— How it was Prepared— Meals— Water- 
Fire — How obtained — Signs and Signals. 

?MUS. — The blacks used their nets to catch emus at 
times. They knew where these birds came for 
.water, and would set nets accordingly to entangle 
them, and, if successful, would despatch them 
with weapons. At other times the natives would lie hidden, 
and spear the birds as they went by. Emu feathers were 
much valued; the gins wore them in their hair on 
occasions. Eggs were found and eaten. An emu was 
called " ngurrun." 

Scrub Turkeys. — ^These were hunted, and their nests were 
sought. The latter sometimes contained a great number 
of eggs — several birds evidently laid in the same place. 
The eggs were just laid on the ground, and covered over 
with a multitude of leaves and small sticks, and left to come 
out on their own account. They were never sat upon. These 
nests or heaps were easily discovered, as they were quite big, 
sometimes two feet high. A scrub turkey was called " war- 

Swans. — ^The Turrbal or Brisbane tribe (not the natives 
of the Maroochy River) called a black swan " marutchi " 
(Maroochy). Swans were caught in the moulting season, 
they could not fly then ; the blacks went after them in 
their canoes. Gins kept the smaU feathers for ornamenting 
their hair, and the men always kept the down, carrying it 
in dillies. This down was used to dress up the body for 
fights or corrobborees. Bribie Passage and South Passage 
were favourite resorts of the swan. The natives caught their 
young and found their eggs. 


Ducks {" Ngau-u").— Nets were put across one end of a 
large lagoon which ducks frequented. The natives hid 
themselves, and when the ducks came, frightened them up, 
and then threw two or three boomerangs in among them. 
The ducks, thinking these were hawks, would shoot down- 
wards, and get stuck in the net. The aborigines used two 
kinds of boomerangs. One, when thrown, would return 
to the sender's feet, the other did not return. The latter 
was used in fighting, while the former was chiefly a plaything. 
It was, however, the one which returned which was used 
in this way to frighten birds. 

In large swamps in summer time, the natives would go 
into a waterhole, and standing there with the water up to 
their necks, they held a little bush in front of them which 
hid their heads. The ducks, thinking this was just an ordinary 
bush, swam gaily near and nearer as they fed, and were 
suddenly grabbed by the legs and pulled under. Ducks 
were very plentiful then, and sometimes several were caught 
this way. At other times they took fright and were off. 
The eggs of a duck were much appreciated, and ducklings 
were often caught. 

Birds were generally singed and rubbed free of feathers, 
then cooked in the usual way on ashes, but sometimes a 
duck would be rolled in a big baU of mud — feathers and 
all — then put right under the ashes. When cooked the mud 
and feathers would all come off together, and the inside, 
too, would readily come away, leaving the duck nice and clean. 
No other bird was cooked in this way. Duck's feathers 
were kept for the women's hair, as were all small feathers. 

Parrots (" Pillin "), Cockatoos (" Kai-yar "). — Towards 
sundown, from the low-lands, the parrots flew in flocks up 
the gorges of the mountains to roost for the night, after their 
feed of the day. The natives set nets across the trees where 
they knew they would pass, and as the flocks flew along 
boomerangs were thrown in among them, and the parrots, 
thinking, like the ducks, that these were hawks, dived 
down, and were caught in the netts. Great numbers were 
captured this way. Parrots were also sneaked upon when 
sitting on nests, and the young birds were likewise caught 


and eaten. If any bird's nest (on the ground or on a 
tree) were discovered, it was watched for the sake of the 
bird that came to it. Many different kinds were caught so. 
Cockatoos were greatly valued for their yellow top-knots, 
which were called " billa-billa, and were worn by men as 
described. They built their nests in hollow Umbs. 

Quail {" Du-wir "). — ^The natives went out in four or five 
lots in different directions, and as these birds were frightened 
up they threw httle waddies at them. The different lots 
worked into each other's hands. New Farm and Eagle 
Farm were great places for quail ; my father has hunted there 
for them. 

Plants. — Animals, birds, and fish were all roasted on hot 
cinders, and so were certain roots and tubers of plants. 
The natives got the root of a fern (Blechnum serrulatum) 
which grew in the swamps in great quantities. It was mostly 
the gins who dug this up and put it in their diUies to carry 
to camp ; great loads there would be at times, for 
the root was highly esteemed. It was called " bangwal," 
and was first roasted, then scraped and cut up finely 
with sharp stones on a log, when it was ready to eat. 
" Bangwal " was generally eaten with fish or flesh, as we 
use bread, though also eaten separately. In a camp, my 
father says, one would hear the chop-chop continually all 
over the place, as this food was prepared. It was very 
much used. 

The root of a fresh water rush (Typha augustifoha) was 
also eaten. This was something like arrowroot, and was 
called " yimbun." The outer skin was taken off, and then 
the roots were chewed raw until nothing was left but fibre, 
which was thrown away. 

A large leaved plant, which grew on the edge of the scrubs 
(Alocasia macrorrhiza), was also sought for its roots. It 
is well known as " cunjevoi," but the Brisbane blacks called 
it " bundal." This plant is poisonous, but the blacks prepared 
the roots by soaking them a long time, and then they were 
pounded up and made into cakes, and so roasted on the 


The wild yam (Dioscorea transversa) was found on the 
edge of the scrubs. This is a small vine, with a root like a 
sweet potato. The gins wovdd have to dig three feet some- 
times for this root (" tarm "), which was very nice roasted. 

Different kinds of flowering ground orchids were dug up 
and the tuberous roots eaten, but these were very small. 

The cabbage-tree palm (Livistonia AustraUs) and common 
palm (Archontophoenix Cunninghamii) : Young shoots coming 
out at the top were just pulled and eaten raw as a vegetable. 
The cabbage-tree was called " binkar," and the common 
palm " pikki." Of late years the latter name has grown to 
" pikkibean." 

A large bean (Canavalia Obtusifolia) (" Yugam ") which 
grew in the scrub on vines was pulled before it was ripe while 
soft, and the beans taken from the pods 'and soaked in water 
These were then pounded up and made into Ceikes, ana 
roasted. If not prepared so they were poisonous. The 
natives declared that the soaking and roasting took all 
badness away. For soaking beans, roots, or nuts, netted 
billies were used. This prevented them getting lost, and yet 
allowed the water to get at them. After white people came 
the blacks soaked com in the same way to soften it. 

The Moreton Bay chesnut (Castanospermum Australe), 
or " mai," was also poisonous. The nuts were cracked and 
soaked, then pounded, and made into cakes, and roasted. 
The blacks called the white man's bread " mai " after this, 
when they first got into the habit of using it. 

The nut of the zamia (Cycas media) was another poisonous 
form of food used. It was cracked, then soaked, and after- 
wards roasted. 

Several nuts and different kinds of berries were just eaten 
raw. The " bon-yi " I have already spoken of. 

The fruit of the geebung (Persoonia), or " dulandella," 
as the Brisbeme tribe called it, was eaten raw, and greatly 
relished. The natives got dUhes full of these in the right 
season. They swallowed the pulp and the stone, which they 
squeezed from the skin with their fingers. It is a small 
green fruit. 


Two kinds of wild fig were also just eaten raw. The larger 
kind was " ngoa-nga," and the smaller " nyuta." 

A white, green-spotted berry, which grew on a small green 
bush (Myrtus tenuifoUa) on sandy islands was very sweet. 
The natives called it " midjdm." Another berry (" dubbul ") 
grew on sandy beaches. Wild strawberries and raspberries 
were edso found. 

Dog-wood or " denna " (Jacksonia scoparia) gum was much 
eaten, and different kinds of blossoms were sucked for the 

The Pandanus, or bread fruit (" winnam "), was chewed 
at the end and sucked. 

Meals. — The aborigines had no stated times for meals 
— they ate whenever they had food, and were hungry. 
Generally, however, there was a feast in the evening after the 
day's hunting. In the morning all would start out in different 
directions for the day, and if travelling, they arranged where 
to meet for the night, or supposing they were stationary, 
they all turned up at the same place ageiin. About the middle 
of the day, while hunting thus, they might rest at some creek 
or waterhole to cook food, and very likely have a swim. 
Very happy they were, always laughing and joking, and extra 
merry after a good meal, when they danced and sang. Father 
says it was a great sight seeing them come into camp in the 
evening, a little before sunset. They would come in from 
all directions, laden with all sorts of things — ^kangaroos, 
'possums, snakes, honey, eggs, birds, fish, crabs, different 
kinds of roots and fruit, etc. They started cooking these, 
and as the sun bid his farewell there arose that weird cry 
for the dead already mentioned. The gins would have 
wood all ready gathered for the fire, and also a supply of 

Water. — ^When water {" tabbU ") was scarce, to get some 
the blacks dug small wells in swamps. This water would 
be muddy, and to clear it a lot of fern leaves were put in 
the hole : this they said made the sediment sink to the 
bottom. Also, in carrying water in a " pikki " from place 
to place, fern leaves or grass were alwa}^ put in with it ; 
as well as clearing the water they said this prevented it 


spilling. To obtain water the blacks also tapped the tea-tree ; 
they got a little that way, but it had an unpleasant taste. 

Fire. — The natives obtained fire (" darlo ") by friction. 
To do so, they used the dead (stick-likie) flower stems of the 
grass tree in this way : One thick stick was taken, and the 
surface split off on one side, this was then placed on the ground 
with the flat side uppermost, and in the centre of the stick 
a tiny hole was made. All round this hole, on the ground, 
were placed pieces of dry grass and leaves, also rotten pow- 
dered sapwood. Now another stick was got, somewhat thinner 
than the other, and the native sat down on a log beside the 
first, and placing the point of the second into the hole, he 
held the first with both feet firmly to the ground, while with 
his hands he rolled the second round and round very rapidly, 
pressing it down all the time in the hole. This continual 
rubbing and rolling gradually wore through the hole, and in 
the end the friction caused sparks, which falling on the dry 
leaves and sapwood, were carefully blown into a blaze. 

My father has tried to obtain fire in this way, but never 
managed it, being unable to roll the stick properly. It 
was only on rare occasions that the natives needed to do this, 
for they took care always to carry lighted firesticks with them 
wherever they went. These were principally of ironbark, 
as that wood kept lighted longest. Walking along, these 
sticks were held in front carefully from the wind, and a fire 
was set going wherever a halt was called. Even crossing 
to an island in a canoe, the natives did not forget their fire- 
sticks. Two or three were always kept burning on some clay 
at one end of the canoe. 

Signs, Etc. — When travelling from one place to another 
the blacks, if they wished to let their friends know of their 
approach, would set bushfires going. For the same purpose, 
as they passed along, they pulled up a brunch of grass, and 
twisting it round another bunch would bend the whole in 
the direction in which they went, thus giving their friends 
the idea in which way to follow. In the scrub a twig would 
be broken or bent here and there. However, after the advent 
of the whites, they were careful not to make distinct tracks, 
for fear of being followed by the police. In travelling from 


one place to another they generally took the same track, 
and this was always the shortest way — they never journeyed 
in a roundabout fashion. 

When a yoimg man and woman ran away together, so 
that their tracks might not be followed, they would walk 
along the beach into the sea, then travelling in the water 
for some Uttle distance, they at length walked out back- 
wards, so leaving a misleading track behind them. 

Often the natives would signal across the water with their 
hands from one point to another — for instance, they were 
in the habit of doing this from Kangaroo Point to North 
Brisbane. Signs they called " mirrimbul," and they could 
understand one another thus. They were in the habit of 
signalling from the two points of Moreton and Stradbroke 
Islands — ^in those early times South Passage was very much 
narrower than it is now. Father remembers it so, and says 
the natives used to cross there in their canoes. The old 
natives said that long ago there was no passage at all, but 
the two islands were one, and this is possible, even probable. 


Canoe-making — Rafts of Dead Sticks— How Huts were Made— Weapon 
Making — Boomerangs — Spears— Waddies — ^Yam Sticks— Shields —Stone 
Implements — Vessels — Dilly-Bags — String. 

CANOES. — The aborigines made their canoes 
from bark in the following fashion : — Bark for 
the purpose was, if possible, got from the bastard 
mahogany, a tree the blacks called " bulurtchu," 
which grows on low ground near a swamp. But if one of 
these trees was not procurable, then a stringy bark or 
" diiu-a " was sought. The bark from the former was 
preferable, because it would not split, while that of the 
latter could not be depended upon. 

The first thing to do was to chmb the tree to the height 
required, which was done in the usual way with a vine. Then 
all the rough outer scaly bark was picked off with a small 
pointed stick, those below cleaning the bark within their 
reach, while the man on the tree did the rest ; then the bark 
was cut right round the tree at the bottom, and also at the 
top, as far up as they thought if would strip off easily. Spring- 
time was chosen, when the sap was up, because, of course, 
bark would not come off otherwise — and the natives knew 
this. Sometimes they would get but a short length, and 
sometimes a long one — ^perhaps twenty feet. 

When the bark was cut right through in these circles, 
the man on the tree cut downwards in a straight Une, so divid- 
ing the bark, which they wished to peel off in one whole 
piece. Then a stick about four feet long, flattened at the 
end, was used to job in between the bark and the tree, and 
thus it was loosened all round, and would peel off quite easily. 
When off, a piece of vine was tied round each end to prevent 
it§^ flattening out, and in the hollow dry leaves andfsmaU 
sticks were put and set fire to. While the fire was burning 


the bark was rolled about, and so it got equally heated aU 
over. This, the blacks said, made it more pliable. When 
the fire had burnt out, but while the bark was still hot, it 
was loosened free of the vines tying it, and then both ends 
were bent up and tied in a bunch with string made for the 
purpose from " 3mrol " (Flagellaria indica). Through each 
of these folded up ends a wooden skewer was run, and more 
string bound round kept all firm. 

That part finished, to strengthen the sides, lengths of wattle 
(Acacia) or " nannam " vine (Malaisia tortuosa) were stretched 
along the top of the inside, and these were bound into place 
with more " yurol " string laced through holes made with 
a sharp-pointed stick. If the canoe was a small one, a piece 
of cane (" yurol ") twisted like a rope was placed across 
the centre — the ends fixed to the sides : this prevented the 
canoe shrinking in with the heat of the sun. If a large 
one, then there were two of these crosspieces — one at either 

As a freshly-made canoe got dry, it grew very strong 
and stiff. A large one would carry nine or ten people, while 
the smaller ones held about five. A canoe was called 
" kundul " after the bark it was made from. All bark 
went by that name, with the exception of that of the tea-tree, 
which was called " ngudur." In a small canoe a blackfeUow 
stood up in the middle and propelled the boat along by 
paddling first on one side and then on the other with a long 
round stick, nine feet or so in length. In a large canoe two 
people had to do the same — one at either end, and it was 
surprising how quickly they could go along, also how well 
they could steer their course with these poles. Both ends of 
a canoe were the same, and for fresh or salt water they were 
made in the same way. The strongest and largest ones were 
used for catching turtle, and the smaller ones for crossing 
short distances. People in the boat not paddling always 
sat low down in the bottom out of the way. 

As I have already mentioned, blacks in a canoe always 
carried a Ughted firestick resting on some dirt or clay in the 
bottom. Also they had a shell they called ]" niugam " 
(Melo diadema), to bail out with if any leak should start, 


and a ball of whitish clay to putty up the hole. (See Dr. 
Roth's Bulletin, No. 7, page 14.) 

Supposing they had no canoe and yet wished to cross 
a creek or river in travelling, the aborigines made small 
rafts with dead, dry sticks bound together with bark string. 
These rafts were covered with sheets of tea-tree bark, young 
children and other belongings placed on them, and then the 
men and women going into the water, swam alongside, 
pushing the raft. Before swimming in any large river, 
the blacks always threw in a stick which would float, to see, 
they said, if there were any sharks about — the shark would 
come to the stick, and in swimming any distance they always 
used as a help a small log, about four or five feet long, 
which would float. On this log they rested the left hand, 
and so pushed it along, while the other hand was used in 
swimming ; it was supposed they did not get so fatigued 
then. A dilly would be carried on the head. 

Huts. — Huts were of two kinds, one a good deal larger 
than the other, and less easily made. They were all generally 
called " ngudur " after the tea-tree bark which covered 
them. To make the smaller or usual kind, the men obtained 
a long, thin sapling which would bend and crack in the 
middle without breaking through. Both ends of this were 
stuck into the ground, and then a forked stick was placed 
to support it on one side, and against the other a number 
of sticks were slanted and tied if necessary to keep them 
in place. Their ends were also stuck in the ground. Next 
sheets of tea-tree bark were fixed against this stick-wall, 
and a sheet bent over on top surmounted the lot. All round 
the hut where the bark stood, a drain was dug, and the 
earth thrown up against the base kept the bark in position. 
Extra supports were placed over all, if wind were blowing. 
As already stated, the doorway had nothing to do with 
the direction in which the wind came, but pointed to whence 
the occupants had come. When it was windy, breakwinds 
of bushes were a.lways used, and these protected the fire 
at the entrance as well as the people inside. These huts 
would hold about four or five people. 


Huts were never made very high ; a man could not stand 
upright in them. However, the second land were much 
wider, and held about ten people. This time the foundation 
was formed of four long saplings bent over (not cracked) 
in the shape of hoops — ^with both ends stuck firmly in the 
ground. These hoops were crossed one over the other at 
equal distances ; and so the openings in between were all 
alike, and were filled up with sticks stuck in the ground at 
one end and tied to the hoops at the top, with the exception 
of one, which was left for a doorway. Then the whole was 
covered with bark, kept in place by heavy sticks leant against 
it. As in the former kind, a large sheet was put on the very 
top, and this hung over the doorway, and left only a tiny 
opening. A small fire was kept going in the centre of these 
huts (not at the entrance), and they were considered warmer 
than the others. One mostly saw them on the coastline, the 
inland tribes always used the others. 

Tea- tree bark was often carried by women in travelling, if the 
travellers knew that they would be unable to get any for their 
huts at their journey's end. Sometimes other bark was used 
in place of the tea-tree, for instance that of the " diura " 
or stringy bark, and so in that way a hut was sometimes 
called " diura." Tea-tree was not so easily got inland as on 
the coast. Now and again grass would have to be resorted 
to, and, if the weather was fine, just a breakwind of bushes 
would be used for the night. 

Huts were moved on to fresh ground every now and then, 
even if the owners were not travelling. Fleas got troublesome 
otherwise. The same materials, foundation and all, were 
used in this case again and again. 

Boomerangs. — A boomerang was called " braggan," and, 
as I have said, there were two kinds — one used as a toy, 
and the other for fighting. They were made from the root 
or spur of a scrub tree. The spur grew in a half-circle, 
so all that had to be done was to cut this off at both ends, 
thin it down with a stone tomahawk, and afterwards scrape 
it with a shell to make it smooth. One side was made more 
rounded than the other. Tlie toy boomerang would circle 
round, and return to the sender's feet when thrown, and this 


was the one which was sent in among birds to frighten them- 
The fighting one was heavier, romider at both sides, and 
had less of a bend than the other. As well as for fighting, 
it was used to kill kangaroo and big game. When thrown 
it would go in a straight course first, then gradually swerve 
to the right or left. The owner would know by practice 
just in which way his boomerang would travel, and he could 
make it go to the left or to the right as he liked. Boomerangs 
were thrown on to the ground as well as up in the air, and when 
they struck the earth they always turned off in another 
direction. The fighting one was never thrown as high as 
the other. BlackfeUows often practised throwing these 
weapons at young tree saplings — seeing if they could hit 
them. Father, when fifteen or sixteen years of age, could 
throw a boomerang with any native — or a spear or waddy. 
All these instruments he could make, and the natives 
greatly valued any so made, and would show them to other 
tribes at the time of a corrobboree. Sometimes they would 
give one or two away as a rarity to a great chief of another 
tribe, explaining who had made them. Boomerangs were 
notched at the end, held as a handle. 

Spears. — One kind of spear, called " kannai," was made 
from saplings which grew on the edge of the scrub. These 
saplings were cut when from six to nine feet long, and 
they were scraped with a shell free from bark. Then 
another shell — a fresh-water mussel — or, in the case of coast 
tribes, a yugari (Donax), was used cis a spokeshave. A 
small hole was made in the centre of the shell, and it was held 
in the palm of the hand, and so with this the sapling was 
sharpened into a point. (Referred to in Dr. Roth's Bulletin, 
No. 7, page 21, Fig. 109.) The point was then held 
in the fire to harden. Afterwards grass and leaves were 
put on a fire to cause smoke, and the spear was 
blackened therein all over. Finally, however, about a 
foot away from the tip the point was scraped white 
again, and when thrown this white would gleam and 
show up against the black ; a spear was more easily dodged 
on that account. This spear was used for fighting and for 
kiUing game. Sometimes, instead of sharpening the point. 


three or four prongs of wood were fastened there, and then the 
weapon was used for spearing iish. The prongs were made 
about seven inches long. 

Another spear, the " pi-lar," was made from the ironbark 
which grows on flats— the " tandur " (Eucalyptus crebra). 
This spear was about ten feet long. A tree would be picked 
which was straight in the grain, and the required length 
cut out. A man climbing the tree would cut up as far as 
he wanted, then across and down again, making the cut 
about an inch and a-half deep, and the piece to be cut 
out an inch and a-half wide. This would then be split 
out, and the spear made from it by first thinning down with 
a stone tomahawk, then scraping with a shell, and so on, 
just as the other was done. This spear, however, was left 
aU black. It was used at close quarters, as it was too long 
and heavy to throw far. Sometimes these spears were 
notched almost through at the point, and then thrown at a 
special enemy with the hope that they would hit and break 
off, leaving the end stuck in the wound. Again, the sharp 
barb from the butt of a stingaree's tail might be used for 
the point of a spear. It was fastened on with bees' wax and 
string. Spears were thrown with the hand only ; no wom- 
mera was used. 

If a spear was not the correct shape when being made, 
it could be straightened by heat and then bent properly 
over the head. The Ipswich, or " Warpai " tribe, made 
spears from rosewood {" bunuro "), and these were sometimes 
exchanged for others ; the Brisbane tribe valued them 
greatly. Before a fight, quantities of spears were made 

Waddies. — Scrub saphngs were used to make waddies, 
or else the ironbark mentioned for spear-making (" tan- 
dur") was utilised. They were of several kinds, and were 
always made black. One, the "tabri" (the one of general 
use), used for both fighting and hunting, was about 
two feet long, and though pointed at both ends, the 
same end was always used as a handle, which, to prevent 
the weapon slipping, was notched. The " tabri " was not 
of the same thickness all through, but tapered from three- 


quarters of an inch at the handle end, before the point, to 
two and a-half inches at the other. The points were short. 

The " mur," used for fighting only, was about the same 
length. It tapered slightly from the handle, and at the end 
there was just a large knob. Sometimes these knobs were 
carved, and the handles were notched. Waddies were 
also slightly ornamented at times with white clay and red 
" kutchi." 

Lastly, a waddy made from a root, grown somewhat 
in the shape of a pick with one downward point, was called 
" bakkan," and a man hit his enemy on the back of the neck 
or head with this. These were made flat like a boomerang, 
not round like other waddies. 

Yam-sticks. — These were called " kalgur," and were 
women's weapons. However, the " gentler sex " used 
them as well for digging for yams and other roots. They 
were about six feet long, and were much like a spear, only 
a good deal thicker. One end tapered, and the other was 
very sharp. 

Shields. — ^There were two kinds of shields, but both were 
called " kuntan," after the timber they were made from — 
corkwood or " Bat-tree " (Erythrine sp.). This tree grows 
generally on the edge of scrubs, but is also found on a ridge 
near a swamp. A tree would be from four to six feet long 
in the barrel before the first branch. One was picked 
which was about thirteen or fourteen inches through, and 
cut down, then cut into lengths sixteen or seventeen inches 
long. These lengths were split up and roughly shaped 
with stone tomahawks. Then the wood was left to dry. In 
about a week's time or more it would be quite light and dry, 
and soft to work, and the handle was made, which was just 
a solid piece of wood hollowed out in the centre of the shield. 
First two holes were marked out with charcoal on either 
side of the piece to be left for a handle ; then these lines 
were cut in with a sharp piece of flint stone, and afterwards 
the holes were hollowed out in this way : A sharp stick 
was used to job within the marked lines till the wood became 
quite soft and pulpy, then live coals were placed there and 
blown upon till they burnt the soft wood. The hole was 


picked out again, more coals used, and so on till both sides 
were hoUowed, and met under the handle, and the excavation 
was wide enough to allow three fingers to pass through and 
hold the handle. The handle of a shield was always held 
so — by the first three fingers of the left hand. To smooth 
down the rough edges, a shell or sharp flint stone was used. 

The shield used to fend off spears in a large fight were 
broader, and not so round and heavy as the ones for a close 
hand-to-hand fight with waddies. The latter were about 
six or seven inches thick, to stand the blows from the 
waddies. " Kunmarin " was the name for a shield further 
north up the coast. 

All shields were covered with a coating of native bees' 
wax. This wax was always carried, and when wanted 
it was held to the fire till quite soft, and in the case of shields 
was rubbed all over on the outside till it stuck. When firm 
and hard, white clay and red paint were put on over the 
wax, in the case of shields for spears, but the heavier ones 
had nothing beyond the wax. The clay was just wet with the 
mouth, and rubbed on the shield at both ends about six inches 
towards the middle ; then the centre was rubbed with red 
" kutchi," and fine hues of white clay were drawn over this 
again, making a sort of pattern. The under surface of 
shields (the handle side) was sometimes whitened with clay. 

Tomahawks. — It was not every man who had a stone 
tomahawk to leave behind him ; they were hard to make, 
and, therefore, were not plentiful. When hunting, the men 
went in groups with one of their number owning a tomahawk, 
which was useful on occasion — for instance, if a bees' nest 
were found. A tomahawk, or " waggarr," was made from 
a hard stone or boulder, generally found in freshwater rivers. 
The piece was chipped out first with another stone, then 
a .point was ground down gradually at any odd moments 
while in camp. This took a long time to do, and no native 
had the patience to keep at it till finished, so a tomahawk 
was a good while on the way. The grinding was done on a 
sandstone or rock, wetted now and then. When finished 
a handle of wood was affixed, which was just a length of 
strong vine bent over in the middle and there fixed firmly 


to the stone by means of bees' wax. The two ends of the 
handle were tied together with string. Besides their other 
uses, tomahawks, without handles, were sometimes utilised 
in place of stones, to break up the bones of animals just eaten ; 
the natives were especially fond of marrow as food. 

Knives. — Stone knives were made from reddish-coloured 
flint stone. There was no grinding for knives, but they were 
simply spUt from the stone, so one can understand how 
they often did not split to taste, but were perhaps blunt 
and no good. Sometimes a man would be lucky and get 
one at the first trial, but at other times he might split ever 
so many first. Only fighting men carried these knives, which 
were used in fights or for cutting up animals ; women used 
sharp shells. A knife or " tang-ur " was always ornamented 
at the butt end with opossum fur stuck on with bees' wax 
or " mappi " (" moppi "). Sometimes the fur was bound 
round with string and then smeared with the wax. 

Vessels. — The natives made various vessels in which to 
carry water and honey. One called the " niugam " was 
made from the bark covering of excrescences that sometimes 
appear on gum trees. When the sap was up in the spring 
time a native would climb to one of these knobs, and cut 
aU round with a stone tomahawk, then with a sharp stick 
he would loosen the bark, which, after being beaten gently 
all over, would peel off easily. A handle of string was all 
that was required, and this vessel was used for holding honey. 
" Niugam " was also the name |(as stated) for the large sea 
shell Melo diadema, and in later years for the white man's 

Another vessel called a " pikki," was fashioned from the 
sheath of the palm flower (Archontophcenix Cunninghamii). 
This palm the blacks originally called " pikki," but of late 
years it has been known as " pikkibean." Both ends were 
tied up, and had a small skewer run through them, then a 
long stick passing down the centre lengthwise formed a 
handle. The skewers and handle were kept in place by 

From the " Bat-tree " (Erythrine sp.) — or, as the natives 
called it, " kuntan " — another vessel was made, and it 


also was called " pikki." If the tree felled was a large one, 
the section cut out was split down the centre with a wooden 
wedge (see Dr. Roth's Bulletin, No. 7, page 18), apd two 
vessels were thus made from this, whereas if the tree was 
smaller, a length was perhaps just thick enough for one vessel 
without the splittng. These lengths were about eighteen 
inches long, and they were first cut with a stone tomahawk, 
then with a hard shell, into shape. Both ends were rounded 
off into a point. The wood was then put aside to dry, and 
afterwards the hollow of the vessel was made with the help 
of a sharp stick and hot cinders, as in the case of the holes 
in a shield. When finished the vessel curved downwards 
somewhat in the centre, and so the ends stuck up, and through 
these latter a hole was made for the string handle. 

These vessels were sometimes really splendid, and were 
very useful for honey or water. The outside was rubbed 
smooth with a stone, then cut or carved, and afterwards bees' 
wax was put on over all. Timber from the stinging-tree 
or " braggain " (Laportea sp.) was used as well as that of 
the " Bat-tree " for these vessels, its inner wood being nice 
and soft, and easily picked out. For the same reason (on 
account of its softness) this latter timber was of no use for 
shields, etc. 

Yet another vessel was made from tea-tree bark, and 
was used by natives on the coast for carrying cobra. A sheet 
of bark was taken, the ends folded up, and tied so, with a 
skewer run through them, then a long stick was put length- 
wise down the middle and formed a handle — ^in fact, this 
" pikki " was made in the same way as the one from the sheath 
of the palm flower. 

DiLLY Bags. — Unlike a number of words that we white 
people have picked up believing them to be aboriginal, 
" dilli " is the genuine name for the baskets or bags the 
blacks used. This name belonged to the Turrbal tribe ; 
others were different, as, for instance, the Stradbroke Island 
people called a dilly " kulai." 

One dilh was made from the small rush found in fresh- 
water swamps. These rushes grow about three feet high, 
and when pulled up the bottom end is white, then there is 


a red length, and the top is green. To prepare them for 
the dillies, the natives drew the lengths through hot ahes 
till quite soft, then they twisted them up on their thighs 
into round string. A loop of string the size of the dilli wanted, 
was got ready, then a gin sat down, and put her legs through 
the loop to hold it firm, while she worked the dilli on the loop. 

Very pretty dillies were made from these coloured rushes, 
which, however, were not always found on the mainland, 
though they grew plentifully on the islands. The Stradbroke 
and Moreton Island gins were especially clever at dilli making. 
Rush ones were very nice for fish, etc. 

The inland woman made dillies from a coarse, strong grass 
(which they called " dilli ") found in the forests. (Xerotes 
longifoha.) It is broad and tough, and grows in bunches 
here and there. The gins pulled this up, split it with their 
thumb nails to a certain thickness, then softened it with 
hot ashes, but did not twist it. These dillies were made 
with the help of a loop held on the big toe. 

Other dillies were made from bark-string, such as that of 
the " ngoa-nga " (Moreton Bay fig-tree), the " braggain '» 
(Laportea sp.), the " nannam " vine (Malaisia tortuosa), 
and the " cotton bush " or " talwalpin " (Hibiscus tiliaceus), 
found on the beach at Wynnum or elsewhere. It was the 
root-bark of the two former which was used. When wanted 
for string, bark was generally soaked in water during prepara- 
tion, and afterwards the outer part was peeled away, and 
the inner rolled into string. 

Dillies were made in all sizes. Large bark-string ones 
were used for soaking certain roots and nuts in water. In 
travelling the women carried the large dillies, which contained 
sometimes food, sometimes bones of deceased relatives, 
and other belongings. A man always owned a small dilli, 
which he carried under his left arm, with the handle slung 
over his shoulder. This contained a piece of white clay, 
red paint, a lump of fat, a honey-rag, and a hair comb. The 
latter was a small bone from a kangaroo's leg, like a skewer ; 
it was sharpened at one end by rubbing on sandstone, and 
was used to comb out a man's hair. If the man was a " tur- 
wan," he also carried his crystal, or "kundri," in the dilli. 


Some dilUes the blacks made in the same pattern as their 
fishing nets, and then two small round pieces of wood tied 
together were used as a netting needle. All nets were made 

String. — Besides string that could be used for basket 
work, the natives made some from wattle ('" kagarkal ") 
bark. This did not need soaking, and was just the inner 
bark of the stem or branches. It was no good for dilli-making, 
but was used for binding up the dead, for tying on fishing net 
handles, and for fixing up huts, etc. Then there was other 
string, such as the kangaroo-tail sinew, used by women 
for sewing opossum rugs, and the human and opossum hair 
twine. The two latter were made from hair twisted and 
rolled on the thighs, and was splendid string, the human 
hair being specially valued for great men's belts. 


Games — " Murun Murun" — " Purrii Purru" — " Murri Murri "— " Birbun 
Birbun"— Skipping— " Cat's Cradle"—" Marutchi "—Turtle Hunting as 
a Game — Swimming and Diving — Mimics — " Tambil Tambil." 

y^^^^^iAMES. — As a boy my father has often joined 
^^^S^. va with the games of the blacks. One of them, 
'^^^^^ called " Murun Murun," was played a great 
deal in the early days of Brisbane on the road 
to and from camp. As they came along their pathway into 
Brisbane the natives played this ; then again as they returned 
in the evening. It was carried out so : — ^The men and boys 
picked sides, and each player had a small waddie, made for 
the purpose, which he hit on the ground to make it bounce. 
The object was to see who could make the instrument 
bounce furthest — ^there was a knack about it. The menfolk 
were very fond of this game; women never played with 
waddies or spears. 

Another game was " Purru Purru." It was played with 
a ball made from kangaroo skin stuffed with grass, and sewn 
up. " Purru " meant ball. As in the first game, sides 
were picked, but the women joined in. The ball was thrown 
up in the air, and caught here and there, each side trying 
to keep it to themselves or to catch it from the opposite one. 

" Murri Murri " was yet another game, and boys generally 
played it, though sometimes men joined in. The players 
picked a clear space, and stood in two lines, each holding 
a couple of small, sharp spears in their hands. In the open 
space between the lines a man stood. In his hand he held 
a piece of bark (generally gum), cut into a circular shape 
and some eighteen inches across. This, when the game 
started, he would throw on the ground, causing it to bowl 
along like a hoop about eight or nine yards from both lots 
of boys. As it passed they all threw their spears at it, trying 


to see who was best at hitting it. " Murri " was the native 
name for kangaroo, and this was really plajdng at spearing 
one of those animals. 

The toy boomerang has been already mentioned — ^the natives 
spent hours with it. 

Another instrument {" Birbun-Birbun ") made from two 
lengths of wood tied together in the middle crosswise, was 
thrown and returned in the same manner. The lengths 
were about one and a-half inches wide, and eighteen inches 
long (or they were smaller), and one side of both was more 
rounded than the other. In throwing, one end of the cross 
was held. Often sides were taken for this and for boomerang 
throwing, to see who was cleverest at getting the return. 
This game is met with at present in the Cairns and CardweU 
districts (Dr. Roth's Bulletin, No. 4). 

Yet another toy (which does not appear to have been 
hitherto drawn attention to or described) played with like 
the boomerang, was just a smaU piece of bark, obtained 
from the top branches of the fig-leaf box. The bark was 
taken six or seven inches long, and an inch and a-half wide, 
then was rounded at both ends, and put into hot ashes. 
While hot it was bent into almost a half-circle, and kept 
so till, when cold and hard, it had taken on that shape. 
The bark mentioned is the only kind suitable for these toys, 
and they could only be made at one time in the year, when 
the sap was up, and allowed the bark to peel off easily. Father 
as a boy has made numbers of them, and, of course, has often 
thrown them and had lots of fun in the game. For sides 
could be taken for this also. These toys were thrown with 
the first finger and thumb, and circled and returned as a 

It may not be generally known that skipping with a vine 
was an amusement with the Brisbane blacks before ever they 
saw the white man's skipping-rope used. But so it was, 
and the vine 'vas circled round and round just as we do a 
rope, and als&, like us, either one person or two could skip 
at a time. Men or women went in for the amusement, 
and it was a great thing to skip on the hard sea beach when 
near the water. Whatever kind of vine was handiest at 


the time was used — either those of the scrab or a creeper 
which grew on the seashore. And the blacks skipped away, 
keeping things going for a long time, amidst great interest 
and amusement from the onlookers. Some natives were 
splendid skippers, notably "Governor Banjo" of whom 
I will speak later. It seemed almost impossible to trip 
this man out, and my father says one could notice how 
his eyes watched every movement of the hands of those 
who turned the vine — for, of course, they did their best 
to get him off his guard. An extra- determined attempt 
at this caused roars of laughter always, for Banjo was sure 
to be ready. 

Another amusement which seems European, yet which 
was common to the blacks in their primitive state, is that 
known to us as " cat's cradle." An aboriginal held the string 
on his hands, while another took it off, and so on till they 
worked it into all sorts of shapes and forms. To the natives 
these shapes could be made to represent a turtle, a kangaroo, 
or, indeed, almost any animal or thing. They were very 
clever at it. The amusement was called " Warm Warm," 
and with the white man's appearance, his fences got the same 
name, because of the resemblance of posts and rails to the 
shape of the string when held in one way across the hands. 

In hot weather the natives had lots of fun in the water, 
and would stay there for hours. It was remarkable that 
they always jumped in feet foremost, and the women aU 
had a pecuUar habit of bending up both legs and holding 
with their hands to each ankle before they " plopped " in. 
Many games were played in the water. " Mamtchi," or 
■" black swan," caused great fun. One man (the swan) 
would jump in, and when he had gone some thirty yards 
from the bank, several watchers would give chase. When 
they got within catching distance he would dive under, 
and they followed. If the bird were caught, he was held 
and tapped lightly on the head, and so died, and was taken 
ashore. However, he often escaped, because the captors 
laughed so much that they could not hold him, at the antics 
he went on with. He would cry out like a swan, and clap 
his arms up and down frantically as though they were wings. 


Father says it was great fun to watch this game, and when 
one bird was disposed of another was ready, and so on, for 
perhaps hours. He himself played the swan sometimes, 
but, being a white one, was easily seen among the dark forms, 
and so was captured quickly. 

In something the same sort of way turtle-hunting was played 
at. Shallow water (about eight or nine feet deep) in 
creek or river, with a white sandy bottom, was chosen for 
this sport, bO that the players could see down through it. 
Three or four people getting into a canoe would paddle about, 
and presently a man who had in the meantime quietly slipped 
into the water, would come up blowing as a turtle does 
not far from^the boat. Immediately he popped down again, 
but the boat gave chase in his direction, one man standing 
up ready to jump in on the next appearance, which would 
not be long in coming. The " turtle " would hardly show 
himself this second time when he would be gone again, but 
the man on the alert would jump in and dive after the prey, 
and then another would help bring him to the surface, and 
Uft him into the boat, when he was taken ashore. During 
all the time laughing and joking went on, indeed the blacks 
in those days were as " happy as princes." 

Often when playing in the water the blacks would dive 
down, and stay under to see who had the best wind, and 
could remain longest beneath the surface, or they would 
try their swimming powers in a race. And they were fond 
of getting hold of white stones or bones in order to dive for 
these. Throwing them in some yards apart, where the water 
was about ten feet deep, the object was to see who could find 
the most and bring them to the surface again. Father 
has spent hours thus in diving with the blacks ; indeed, 
splendid as they must have been in the water, I hardly think 
their white companion was behind hand at all, judging 
from his after years. 

Aboriginal children learnt to swim at a very early age. 
Small " kiddies " (really babies) were thrown into the water, 
and they seemed to take to it at once ; swimming came 
naturally to them evidently. Their elders stood round 
bent on rescue if necessary, and they laughed heartily at thfr. 


way the child, to prevent himself sinking, would paddle 
with his hands and feet. My father's brothers taught him 
to swim in this same way by throwing him into the water. 

As I have mentioned before, .the blacks were very clever 
as " mimics." They would amuse each other in that way 
for long hours together. Generally it would be when they 
were all Ijdng lazily in the shade after a good meal or swim 
that some lively members would start with their antics. 
They perhaps imitated two fighters, or a man hunting, or 
a bird, or a kangaroo, etc.; indeed, everything they could 
think of ; and they never failed to cause a laugh. At those 
times, too, they sometinaes played with balls of mud in 
this way : Mud was rolled up into balls, and then two men, 
apparently solely to amuse the others, got hold of these, 
and dancing, with their bodies half-stooped all the time, 
they pelted each other. First one man in the dance turned 
and held out his cheek for a mud ball, then, receiving it, 
he threw one back, and held out the other cheek, and so on 
till they both would be smothered all over with mud. 
Though their faces were grave they must have enjoyed 
the fun (fun with a question after it), ajid the onlookers, 
of course, were convulsed with laughter. 

Often the young boys had sham fights, with the men joining 
them. Sides were taken as in the real thing, and everything 
was carried out after the same style, but the weapons were 
harmless enough. Tambil meant '" blunt " — hence the name 
of the sport, " Tambil Tambil." The spears used were 
fashioned from small oak saplings about five feet long and 
half-an-inch thick, or from strong reeds (Gahnia aspera) 
growing in the swamps or waterholes. All of them, however, 
were chewed in the mouth at one end into a sort of brush, 
so that when they hit they did not hurt. The shields were 
made from a piece of gum bark about eighteen inches long 
and seven or eight inches wide ; two small holes were made 
in the centre on the under side, and a piece of spht wattle 
branch was bent and put through these holes to form a 
handle. Sham fights taught the boys how to manage when 
their turn came to take part in a real one. 



My father has fought with the little darkies many a time 
in a " Tambil Tambil." Once during one held in the hollow 
below Beerwah on Gregory Terrace, a boy throwing a small 
sharp spear, which he should not have used in play, 
hit the white boy with it on the cheek immediately below 
his left eye. Though the wound was not a severe one and 
soon healed, a slight scar remains to this day. At the time 
the little blackfellow got such a scare at what he had done 
that he cleared out, and did not show himself again for two 
years. Afterwards, however, when they were both men, 
my father had a good deal to do with him ; his name was 
" Dulu-marni " (creek-caught), and he was one of the twenty- 
five to be mentioned later, who bore P as a brand. 

As well as the boys, girls were taught to fight and use the 
'' kalgur," so that they could protect themselves later on. 
The blacks had their way of teaching children even as we have. 
And they seemed to derive fun from the task. For instance, 
it was a source of amusement showing the lads how to climb. 
They picked a leaning tree first, and would instruct the young- 
ster how to hold an end of the climbing vine with his big 
toe, etc. And then they had games in which they practised 
throwing spears or waddies at small saplings, seeing who 
was best at it. All this helped the boys to learn. 

Aboriginal children delighted in imitating their elders 
in every way, and played much as white children do. And 
they were mischievous, of course. One rather cruel habit 
they had was to catch a March fly, and sticking a piece of 
grass through its body, watch with delight how it flew off 
with its burden. If the March flies were as plentiful and as 
troublesome as mosquitoes are to-day, one could not wonder 
at the delight even multiplied one thousandfold. But, 
alas ! one could not treat mosquitoes so. 


Photo ly C. /, Pouiuf.] 

\To jaoc p. nj. 


Aboriginal Characteristics — Hearing — Smelling — Seeing — Eating Powers — 
Noisy Creatures — Cowards — Property— Sex and Clan "Totems" — "The 
Last of His Tribe." 

*''?S^^^^^HE blacks were quick at running, and girls and 
^'%f'^^M ^oys would sometimes run races together. They 
'^^^^^ also had splendid walking powers, and would 
travel long distances in a day without tiring. 
Big journeys were seldom necessary, however, except in 
the case of messengers from one tribe to another. These 
latter my father has known to walk from Brisbane to Cabool- 
ture in a day. Of course, the blacks nowadays lack energy, 
but in those times it was very different. They had no sick- 
nesses to speak of, some few died of consumption, but with 
the exception of smallpox there was nothing much else. 

Pock marks, as mentioned already, were very bad on some 
of the old blacks. Headaches they had, but no toothache 
before the whites' arrival, their teeth being beautifully 
strong and fit to tear anything almost. In those days, 
too, the blacks were very good at bearing pain, some of their 
wounds being frightful. They liked the heat better than 
they did the cold, and never got sunstroke. Cold weather 
was rather disliked, but firesticks were always carried, and 
then where they rested nice warm humpies were made. 
Some of the blacks were very strong, and they must have 
had tremendous power in the neck, for a great weight was 
always carried on the head, and, though perhaps miles were 
traversed, it did not seem to affect them. In the infant 
days of Brisbane Father has seen a blackfeUow many a 
time carry a two himdred pound bag of flour on his head 
some distance, from a boat ashore, etc. And a native often 
bent or broke sticks across his head in the same way as a 
white man will use his knee. It was noticeable that the knee 


was seldom or never used for this purpose, but it was done 
either on the head or with the help of the foot. 

By putting an ear to the ground the native could hear 
sounds a long way off, and he had good smelling powers. 
Many odours in the scrubs were recognised immediately. 
For instance, a native walking along would all at once loudly 
sniff the air, crjdng at the same time " kappoUa ! kappolla ! " 
his name for the scrub opossum, which has a strong odour. 
However, as far as my father's experience went, it is all 
nonsense that the natives could smeU a track, as some declare ; 
they tracked by means of their keen eyesight, as I have 
already explained ; and the fires of those advancing, but yet 
a long way off, were not smelt, but men, climbing tall trees, 
would look out for any sign of smoke ; hence their knowledge 
of the approach. 

The blacks had fertile imaginations, and in telling stories 
or " yams " they stretched a great deal to make themselves 
look big. They always kept promises amongst themselves, 
and never stole from one another, though it was counted 
no harm to take from strangers if they could. However, 
there were good and bad among them just as there are with 
white people ; though they certainly outshone us in the way 
they shared with one another. No native would ever be 
allowed to starve in those days. Old, helpless people were 
especially well looked after. If any one was sick, too, a 
great thing was a change of food. For instance, the inland 
blacks might go to the coast for a fish diet, and vice versa — 
this being apart from the dugong cure so believed in. Then 
in the bon-yi season the feasts of nuts were thought much 
of as a change. These nuts were evidently fattening, for 
my father says the blacks always returned from a feast 
extra fat and sleek-looking. 

The aborigines did not look on each other as greedy when 
they ate a lot, but would laugh and joke over that sort of 
thing. Father remembers well an incident when he was a 
boy, in connection with a blackfellow especially noted for 
his eating powers. His big brother John thought he would 
try this man, just to see how far he could or would go. So 
he provided him with a loaf of bread and a leg of mutton. 


GeneraJly the blacks ate so much, then put anything over 
into a dilli for future use, but this man did not stop till it 
was all gone ! After that he was dubbed " Greedy Mickey " 

Weeping with the blacks was a sign of joy as well as sorrow. 
When visitors came into a camp they sat down and both 
sides would look at one another, then before a word was said, 
a crying match started as a sort of welcome. They were 
noisy creatures sometimes, and the singing and beating of 
hands indulged in under certain circumstances could be 
heard a long way off. 

The aborigines, as a whole, were cowards in many ways ; 
for instance, they were afraid of the dark. Also some men 
were very cruel in the way they beat the women- folk in their 
power. Children were well-treated, though. In a fight 
both men and women were brave enough, and would not 
give in readily. 

Each tribe had its own boundary, which was well known, 
and none went to hunt, etc., on another's property without 
an invitation, unless they knew they would be welcome, 
and sent special messengers to announce their arrival The 
Turrbal or Brisbane tribe owned the country as far north as 
North Pine, south to the Logan, and inland to Moggill Creek. 
This tribe all spoke the same language, but, of course, was 
divided up into different lots, who belonged some to North 
Pine, some to Brisbane, and so on. These lots had their 
own little boundaries. Though the land belonged to the whole 
tribe, the head men often spoke of it as theirs. The tribe in 
general owned the animals and birds on the ground, also roots 
and nests, but certain men and women owned different 
iruit or flower-trees and shrubs. For instance, a man could 
own a bon-yi (Araucaria Bidwilli) tree, and a woman a minti 
(Banksia amula), dulandella (Persoonia Sp.), midyim (Myrtus 
tenuifolia), or dakkabin (Xanthorrhcea aborea) tree. Then 
a man sometimes owned a portion of the river which was a 
good fishing spot, and no one else could fish there without 
his permission. In this way a part of the North Pine River, 
near the present railway bridge, was owned by " Dalaipi," 


the head man of the North Pine tribe. To primitive man 
it is clear that " property " was not " robbery." 

When an aboriginal died his personal belongings, such as 
nets and weapons, were divided amongst his sons ; and a 
woman's dillies and yamsticks were given to her daughters. 
The eldest children had the first choice, but if there were no 
children, the other relatives got the belongings. Sometimes 
a man's sons would be too young to get his tomahawk or 
knife, etc. ; then perhaps his brothers got them. His wife, 
if alive, generally divided these belongings. 

I have spoken of the belief the blacks had that the night- 
hawk had some connection with the origin of all the women, 
while a small bat held similar relationship to all the men. 
These hawks and bats might perhaps correspond with the 
so-called sex-totems in other parts of Australia. Besides 
this, there were intimate relationships between the family 
aoid certain animals — possibly on lines similar to those fol- 
lowed in the " clan- totems " described from other districts. 
For instance, one old North Pine blackfellow is stiU alive, 
and his family, he says, was connected with the carpet 
snake. This man is of interest, as being the last of his tribe 
— the old Brisbane or Turrbal tribe, of which North Pine 
formed a part. He is of the same age as my father. The latter 
met him first in Brisbane when they were both children, 
and they used to play and fight together. The white boy 
saw the other — at Barrambin (Bowen Hills) — put through 
the " Kurbingai " ceremony and so made a " kippa," but 
he does not know if he ever went through the greater or 
" bul " ceremony. Afterwards when the blackboy grew to 
manhood, he was taken into the mounted black police, 
with whom he remained a long time. He has been all over 
the North of Queensland in that capacity. 

This soHtary member of a once numerous tribe is now at 
Dunwich, supposed to be dying. " Sam " they call him there, 
but his own real name is " Putingga." The meaning of the 
latter is lost now— he does not even remember it himself. 
His name as a " kippa," or young man, was " Yeridmou," 
which meant the mouth of a native bees' nest, with the bees 
continually going in and out. Sam is greatly rejoiced now- 

SAM OK I't'I IN(;i 

J>hoto by P. P. Agn:-,' \ 



To face /. iiS. 


adays if he sees my father, and he feels himself a most impor- 
tant personage because he knew him so long ago. Asked 
once at Dunwich what his age was, he rephed, " Ask Mr. 
Petrie." The questioner, who related the incident after- 
wards, did not personally know Father then, who was indeed 
miles away. 

The writer saw " Putingga " at Dunwich once, and he was 
greatly indignant, or rather his tone of voice seemed to say 
he was, because she could not pronounce some of his words 
in the real way as Father did. Many aboriginal words are 
simple enough, but others are dreadful, and no one on earth, 
according to those Dunwich blacks, is like Mr. Petrie. They 
laughed at his daughter and wanted to know why she could 
not talk like him — no one else can, they say. The admiration 
they expressed, and their joy at seeing him, was really amusing. 
Being his daughter, the writer Ccime in for a share of attention, 
and was simply laden with bouquets of wild flowers when 
she left them. There were two old gins there, the last of 
the Moreton Island or Chvmchiburri tribe — ^blind Kitty 
(" Boumbobian ") and Juno (" Junnumbin " — ^who had not 
seen their white friend for some fifty years, and they knew 
him immediately ; blind Kitty by the voice. They wailed 
and cried roimd him in quite a pathetic manner. The 
blacks had excellent memories, as this will show. 


Folk Lore — The Cockatoo's Nest — A Strange Fish — A Love Story — The 
Old-woman Ghost — The Clever Mother Spider —A Brave Little Brother 
— The Snake's Journey — The Marutchi and Bugawan — The Bittern's 
Idea of a Joke — A Faithful Bride — The Dog and the Kangaroo — The 
Cause of the Bar in South Passage. 

may surprise some people to learn that the 
aborigines had their "fairytales" just as we have, 
and these they used to rejjeat one to the other 
even as we do. The name they gave a tale 
was " mog-wi-dan.'' " Mogwi " meant ghost in the Turrbal 
language (though it was "makuran" furthernorth), therefore 
I suppose the tales were really " ghost yams." Here are 
some of them, taken, however, of late years from the blacks (and 
related as told) ; for my father did not pay much attention 
to their stories in the old times : — 

The Cockatoo's Nest. 
Once upon a time there hved happUy together on an island 
three young aborigines, a brother and two sisters. This 
island was not very far from the mainland, and the three 
often used to gaze across at the long stretch of land, and 
think of journeying forth from their islcind home to see what 
it was like over there. They felt sure they would find lots 
of nice things to eat. So one day, by means of a canoe, 
they really did cross over, and began without loss of time 
to seek for possums, native bears, and so forth. In this 
search round about they at length espied a hollow limb, 
which looked uncommonly like a place where a nest would be, 
and so, going into the scrub near by, they cut a vine for 
climbing. Coming back to the tree, the young fellow climbed 
up, while his sisters waited beneath. When he had cut 
open the limb, he found to his joy a cockatoo's nest with 
young birds in it, and these latter he proceeded to throw 


down one by one to his sisters, the fall to the ground killing 
the poor little things. 

Now it so chanced that as the young blackfellow picked 
up the last little bird from the nest, a feather detached itself 
from its tail, and floating away on the air at length settled 
fair on the chest of an old man asleep in a hut some distance 
away. This old man was really a sort of ghost who owned 
the place, and the feather disturbed his rest, and woke him 
up. Divining at once what was happening, he arose, and, 
getting hold of a spear and a tomahawk, sallied forth to the 
tree, where he arrived before the young fellow had started 
to climb down. Seeing the birds dead, the old man was 
very angry, and said, " What business you take my birds ? 
Who told you to come here ? " And he commanded the 
tree to spread out and out, and grow tall and taUer, so that 
the young fellow could not get down, and, taking the dead 
birds, he put them in a big round dilly, and carried them to 
his hut. 

Although the old man did not wait, the tree did his bidding, 
becoming immediately very wide and tall, and the young 
fellow tried his best to get down, but could not. So at last 
he started to sing and sing to the other trees all round about 
to come to hun, which they did, and one falling right across 
where he stood, he was able to get to the ground that way. 
Somehow, though, in coming down he got hurt, and the gins 
had to make a fire to get hot ashes in order to cover him up 
in these. He lay covered up so for about half-an-hour, 
at the end of which time he was all right again. 

Of course these three felt very indignant at the old man's 
behaviour, and they thirsted for revenge. So calling all 
the birds of the air to them, they sought their assistance. 
These birds went in front, while the three cut their way 
through the thick vine scrub to the old man's hut, and ever 
as they went, to drown the noise of the cutting, the birds 
sang loudly, the wonga pigeon especially making a tremendous 
row with his waugh ! waugh ! waugh ! When they had 
got nearly to the hut, the old man, who had been trying to 
make up for his disturbed sleep, heard the noise of the birds, 
and called crossly to them, " Here, what do you make such 


a noise for ? I want to sleep ! " But even as he spoke 
he was dozing, and presently went off right, suspecting 
nothing, and when the blacks reached the doorway, looking 
in, they saw him quite soundly sleeping. So the three 
clutched their weapons tightly, the man his spear, and the 
women their yamsticks, and advancing into the hut, they 
all together viciously jobbed down at the old man, and 
lo and behold he was dead ! His body was dragged forth 
then and burned, and after the hut was robbed of the 
young cockatoos and aU objects worthy of value, it also was 
burnt, and the three blacks found their way back to the 
canoe, and departed home to their island, laden with the spoil. 

A Strange Fish. 

On Bribie Island once two young gins were wandering 
round, and ended by losing themselves. When they found 
that they were really lost, they were somewhere about the 
middle of the island, at a place where lots of grass trees grew. 
This place is still to be seen. Wasting no time in idly crying 
over " spilt milk " these gins — two sisters— began to look 
round for suitable camping ground, and coming to some 
saltwater lagoons, they buUt their hut on a dry part near by. 
Then leaving everything snug, they went to see if there were 
any fish in the lagoons that they could spear. They looked 
and looked, but could find nothing except one great big round 
peculiar fish, which was the shape of the moon. So with 
their yamsticks they speared this fish, and capturing it 
carried it to the camp, where they made a big fire, and got 
plenty of nice red-hot ashes. Opening out these ashes 
they put in the fish, and then covered it up like a damper, 
and left it there to cook, while they both went off to seek 
some " bangwal " to eat with it. 

Returning, to their dismay, this pair found the fish had 
gone — ^the heat had brought it back to life again ! There 
were its tracks plainly showing — the gins could see the ashes 
it had dropped all a;long as it went. So they followed these 
tracks, and presently espied the fish against a big bloodwood 
tree — half way up the trunk. One of the gins, therefore, 
went back for the yamsticks they had left behind in their 


hurry, while the other stayed to watch, and on the former's 
return, they both tried to spear the fish, and pelted sticks at 
it, and did their very best, but to no purpose ; it kept going 
gradually up and up. This made the gins feel very disgusted, 
and sad, too, because they had lost their feed, and one said 
to the other, " Sister, one of us should have stopped and 
watched that fish, then it would not have got away." The 
thought of the meal they had lost was too much for them, 
and after a httle they broke down and wailed and sobbed 
with the pain of it ! However, they waited for the rest of 
the day, looking now and then helplessly at the tree. 

Towards dusk, what was the gins' astonishment on looking 
up once more, to see the fish actually travelhng westwards 
in the sky. They stood and gazed open-mouthed some few 
minutes, then giving up all idea of ever again capturing 
such a strange fish as that, they left, and went back to the 

Next morning these sisters went out on to the main beach 
to gather yugaries there. The elder siter, by the way, had 
a Uttle son with her — ^just a baby — and this child they left 
on the beach when the yugaries were gathered, covered 
with a 'possum rug, while they went to get more " bangwal," 
meaning not to be long away. However, during their absence 
the tide came up, and the child was washed over by the waves 
and covered with sand, and on the women's return they 
only found him by one little foot sticking oup. Of course, 
they were in a great way at this, and, digging the httle dead 
thing out, they carefully buried him beyond the water's 
reach. Then, feehng restless, they travelled on and away 
along the main beach till they came opposite to Caloundra, 
where they swam the channel. Here on the mainland they 
found some fine caves, and camped in one of these for the 
night — this very same cave is still in existence. 

Next day, travelhng on again, the gins camped in another 
cave, and so they journeyed along the beach, till at length they 
came to Mooloolah Heads. Again they swam and so got 
to the Maroochy beach, and when they had come opposite 
the island " Mudjimba " — some people caU it " Old Woman's 
Island " — they saw a great long " bon-yi " log (gigantic 


it must have been) stretching away from where they stood 
to the island. Thinking at once that it would be nice to 
find what the island was hke, the gins crossed over on this 
log, when, lo and behold, the moment they stepped ashore 
it vanished and was gone. They knew that they were 
stuck there then, and said one to the other, " How do you 
like this place ? We had better make up our minds to live 
here, because we can't swim ashore." Her sister answered, 
" What will we get to eat ? " " Oh, whatever we can find, 
" winnam " (breadfruit), and fish and crabs." Looking 
up she saw the moon. " Oh, look, look, sister, there's the 
fish we killed ! " This made the other feel sad, and every night 
through the long, long time that followed, whenever there 
was a moon, these two thought it their fish, and sometimes 
they laughed and said it looked funny seeing only half a 
fish ! And they are there on that island yet ; and always 
in the middle of the day smoke can be seen rising from their 
fires, though they themselves are invisible. 

A Love Story. 

A little mouse or " kuril " (kureel) had a big round humpy, 
and in it she sat day by day making dillies. She was left 
all alone there for a long time, for her friends and relations 
had all gone off to a " bon-yi " feast. Now, it so happened 
that there was a young fellow among her acquaintances 
who liked her very much, and as he travelled along with all 
the others he began to miss his little friend. At first he had 
thought that she was somewhere among the crowd, but 
finding this was not so, he at length turned back all by himself 
to seek her. He was armed with a tomahawk, a spear and 
shield, and waddy, and was able to get 'possums and honey, 
etc., on the journey back. The way was long, and it took 
him some little time, but he came bravely laden with all 
sorts of dainties for his lady love. 

Imagine the latter sitting in her hut, weaving diUies. 
She had made quite a number, when all at once everything 
seemed to go wrong. The string kept breaking, and brcciking, 
and breaking, and she simply could not do a stitch correctly. 
She began to feel flustered, and wondered what on earth 


was the matter, and yet all the time she knew quite well that 
" some one " was coming near and nearer. At length, about 
four or five o'clock in the afternoon, the young man arrived, 
and found his little girl sitting with lowered head over her 
work. His shadow fell and darkened the doorway, and, 
looking up, she saw him there, and, silly child, she fainted ! 
" What is the matter ? " he asked. But she did not answer 
for a long time, and then, " What you come for ? " "I 
come for you." " What for ? " And he replied, " To 
marry you. Your father and mother promised you to 
me long ago. I suppose you hungry ? " " Yes," she mur- 
mured ; and he gave her some food, tenderly, let us hope. 
Then the young fellow said, " We better travel to-morrow 
and join the rest of them." So next morning she went 
off with him, leaving all her dillies and belongings. They 
were about a week travelling until they came to their friends, 
by whom they were welcomed, and the young girl was satisfied 
to learn from her people that it was even as her sweetheart 
had said — they had been chosen for each other when quite 

The Old-woman Ghost. 
A married couple once were left all alone to camp by them- 
selves, the rest of the tribe having gone travelling to a fight. 
Now these two used to go out every day seeking food, and they 
were especially in the habit of going to the scrub for grubs in 
the dead trees there. One night the man lay dreaming, and as 
he dreamt he fancied they were again in the ■ scrub, and 
while in the middle of getting out a grub his tomahawk 
slipped and cut his wife very badly on the chest. Waking in 
the morning, he informed his wife he had had a bad dream, 
and when she asked what it was, told her, and added she had 
better stay at home that day. But no, she said she would 
go, and, getting her own way, she went. While in the scrub 
she kept running to pick up the grubs which fell from the 
rotten wood as he chopped, and, thinking of his dream, he 
warned her : " Keep away, keep away, the tomahawk 
may slip and cut you." However, she foolishly persisted 
in coming near, and at last what the man feared really hap- 
pened — the tomahawk slipped and cut her a frightful gash 


across the chest. So he bound her up very carefully, and, 
carrying her home, put her to bed. Three days and nights 
he nursed her, and she was so iU that he thought she was 
going to die, and began to think he had better let her people 
know. He suggested this to her, and she said, " Yes, you 
go and bring them — I be alright here." So, as he had a good 
way to go, the husband made a nice, snug hut before leaving, 
and filled it with all sorts of things— food, wood, and water, 
aU ready to her hand. 

The poor thing was not to be left in peace, however, for 
when the husband was gone, and she all alone, the old woman, 
half-devil sort of ghost of the place, thinking she smelt some- 
thing, came along and called from the outside of the hut, 
" Barbang ! " Now " Barbang " meant " grandmother," 
and so the woman inside answered, " If you are my grand- 
mother, come in." The old woman went in, and said she, 
" What is the matter with you ? " The other showed her 
wound. " I'll suck it and make it better," said the hag. 
So she sucked and sucked, and began to tear and bite at the 
flesh £is well, and the sick woman Ijdng bearing this, knew 
then who it was she had to deal with, and if she wasn't careful 
she would be eaten up altogether. Politely she thanked 
her visitor, saying she felt easier, and asked where the old 
woman was camped. " Oh, not far. I have a little daughter 
there." " Well, you go and bring her, and come and 
stop with me and keep me company. Don't be long." 
At this the old woman went off, thinking she'd come back 
provided with weapons, and, sneaking in, would " do the 
deed." ■ The moment she had gone, however, the sick woman 
got up, the thoughts of what might happen giving her strength; 
and, getting a hollow log, placed it where she had been lying 
on the floor, and, covering it up with 'possum rugs, made it 
look like herself. Then she told the log to moan and moan 
as if in pain, and, hurriedly leaving the hut, went to try and 
follow her husband. 

By and bye the old hag turned up again. As she drew 
near the hut she heard the moans of pain, and her mouth 
watered, and she smacked her lips, thinking, " My word, 
I'll have a good feed ! " The log called out, " Come along. 


grandmother. Why have you been so long ? " And the 
grandmother came along, and entering the hut, quickly 
went up to the heap of rugs, and plunging downwards with 
her yamstick, stooped, and started to bite and worry with 
her teeth. She found her mistake then, and set up an awful 
cry of rage and disgust, moaning at the good feed she'd lost. 
" Oh, how stupid of me to go away ; why didn't I wait 
and watch her ? " And she was so wild and bloodthirsty, 
that, after she had looked for tracks and couldn't find them — 
for the sick woman had jumped along in the grass on purpose 
— she went home, and lulled and ate her own daughter. 
Whether the wounded one eventually reached her husband, 
or failed by the way, history omits to tell us. 

The Clever Mother Spider. 

A big spider had her nest in the ground, with its neatly- 
finished trap door. She had a number of children, this old 
spider, and sometimes would shut them all safely in, whUe 
she herself sat outside singing in the sunshine. At other 
times she allowed them out hunting, and then the youngsters 
would roam all round about everywhere, enjoying themselves 
mightily and coming home laden with 'possums and other 
food, when they would have a good feast, and afterwards 
be ordered to bed and shut up for the night. 

Now, there were some strange men who wanted to get 
hold of these spiders, and the old woman knowing this Jaid 
her plans accordingly. When she thought they were coming, 
she got all her brood inside and shut the door. It was such 
a dear, neat little door that one could hardly see it whfen shut 
up. Then the mother set to, and made fires all round about 
in a circle, so that the strangers coming would think they 
(the spiders), were sitting round these fires. The clever 
old thing sang then to herself, so happy was she that her 
children were safe, and climbing up and up by means of a 
web, she sat overhead, and when the strange men came, 
pricked her body and sent down blood on to them, and 
they were thus poisoned and died. Even so did this clever 
old spider get rid of her enemies. 


A Brave Little Brother. 

A mother and father once had occasion to go a long way 
off, and leave behind them till their return their two children 
— a young girl and her little brother. These two, during 
their parents' absence, went into the scrub to look for yam 
roots ; the sister dug for them, while the boy, who was only 
a little chap, played on a log and danced and sang. He sang 
so merrily that the sister became afraid, and asked him to 
" sing softly," for fear a strange blackfellow would come 
along, cmd, killing him, take her away. He promised, " All 
right, sister ; don't you be afraid." And he sang very gently 
and softly for quite a long time, till forgetting, his song got 
the better of him again, and he sang loudly once more. 

A second time the sister remonstrated, and again the boy 
was quietened, only, however, to forget, as before. This 
time his song did attract a strange man, who came and caught 
hold of the girl's arm and started dragging her away. The 
poor httle boy said pitifully to him, " Oh, don't drag her 
like that ! " But the man took no notice of the child, and 
went on dragging. So, as he was stooping down to do this, 
the Uttle fellow went behind and struck with all his might 
at the back of the man's neck with a " bakkan " (instrument 
sharp-pointed like a pick), and killed him. " You see," 
said the boy, who was jubilant then, " I'm not frightened 
of blackfellows ; I can fight them ! " And his sister answered, 
" Ob, but two or three may come, and then you will be killed." 
So the boy said he would be quiet, and he was for some time, 
but in the end forgot again. 

In the meantime the spirit of the dead man went and told 
his mates that there was a girl and little boy in the scrub, 
the girl digging for yams, and the boy singing and playing 
on a log, and the little chap must be an awful little thing, 
for he had killed him. So two or three went together, and 
took a dog with them, and coming to the scrub, started 
to " sule " the animal on to the boy. The poor little chap 
got frightened, and begged, " Oh, don't send on the dog ! 
Don't ! Don't ! " But fancy showing mercy to a venomous 
little thing who had killed their mate ! The child was hunted 
and killed, and the sister was carried off. 


The Snake's Journey. 

A very long time ago a carpet snake and a black snake 
started out in a canoe, in time of flood, from the mouth of 
the Pine River. Marvellous as it may seem, their canoe 
was just a shell of the Moreton Bay chesnut (" mai ") — 
probably a gigantic one ! The black snake was ill, so the 
carpet snake had to do all the work in managing the boat, 
also he kept a sharp lookout on a native dog who swam 
and swam after them trying to catch them. The way was 
long, and the current was strong, and they were tossed 
this way and that, but ever just behind came the dog, swim- 
ming and swimming all the time, though he couldn't manage 
to catch up. What a queer sight it must have been, if only 
some one could have seen it ! The two snakes in their tiny 
canoe ; and the dog paddling close behind, despairingly, 
frantically, as though for very life, in the strong deep water. 
At length the current took them to Moreton Island, where 
they landed, the snakes first, who left the canoe and went 
up on to dry land ; then the dog, who was so greatly exhausted 
with his swimming, that he just lay down on the beach and ex- 

Snakes are not supposed to be able to smile, but these 
two did, when, on coming back to seek their canoe, they 
saw the carcass of the dog ! However, their boat was washed 
away, and they had therefore no means of getting home 
again. Where they had landed was what is now known 
as an end of Moreton Island, near South Passage. In those 
days there was no passage, but one long island, so the snakes 
bethought them to travel along this island, and see what 
they could do that way. Coming at last, after a weary time, 
opposite Southport, they swam across to the mainland, 
so determined were they to get back again to their own 
home, that they journeyed from there overland to the Pine 

The " Marutchi " and the " Bugawan." 

Once upon a time, a black swan (" marutchi ") and a fish- 
hawk ("bugawan"), who were cousins, were playing together 
on the beach, when their companions all went off without 


their knowledge, travelling to get " bon-yi " nuts, etc. The 
hawk was painted red with a white neck, and the swan 
black with a red nose. When these two found they had 
missed the others, they knew it was no use going after them 
that night, but it would be better to wait till the morning. So 
when morning came, " What shall we do ? I can't fly," 
said the swan. (It was moulting season.) And the hawk 
replied, " Well, it's not easy for me to walk." " Never 
mind," said the swan, " You will just have to walk and keep 
me company." So they walked, following in the track of 
their friends all the way. 

For a long long time they went on and on — it must have 
been for a couple of months — and every night they camped 
where their friends had camped, without seeming to come 
nearer to them. At last they came to a mob of strangers 
fighting with their own people, so pausing before showing 
themselves, they painted and " did up," even as blackfeUows 
do, and then went forward amongst the fighters. They 
were armed with boomerangs, spears, and shields, and they 
feU to and fiercely fought the strangers. Before their advent 
the enemy were getting the better of it, but no sooner did 
these two appear on the scene, than the tide turned, and 
instead of their friends gradually losing ground, the enemy 
were beaten further and further back on all sides to their 
mountains and ridges, and rivers, and scrubs. It was all 
quite the work of these two new comers — this victory — 
and their friends thought them just wonderful, and ever 
afterwards looked upon them as " great men." 

The Bittern's Idea of a Joke. 

One of those birds with a long beak, which sits and watches 
for fish — ^in fact a bittern — once set a dugong net at " Dumba " 
(part of Stradbroke Island). Next morning, to his delight, 
when he went to look at the net, .he found he had been success- 
ful, and had caught a dugong. So he set to work, and fastened 
it to his canoe. 

Now he had a lot of companions, this bittern, and he 
knew very well that they would all look forward keenly 
to a feast, therefore he made up his mind to have some fun 


with them first. So he got them all to get into their canoes, 
and leading the way, set off, towing the dugong behind him. 
They kept along the shore for a long, long way, and at length 
came to Russell Island, and landing there made a camp. 
Of course, every one looked forward to seeing the dugong 
cooked. But no, it was left in the water, and next morning 
they all were obliged to follow the owner in another journey 
to another landing place. This time it was Coochimudlo. 
Seeing that the dugong was still left in the water they all 
asked where it was to be cooked ? " Oh," was the reply, 
" I don't know yet, we will go further on." So on and on 
they went from Coochimudlo to Peel Island, and from there 
to Green Island, then afterwards to St. Helena, and at each 
place they camped, and were disappointed again and again, 
for the dugong remained in the water. However, at 
St. Helena, the owner, looking all round him, said, 
" Well, chaps, Mud Island is the last island — we wiU cut 
up the dugong there, and have a feed." They were all 
exceedingly glad to hear this, for they were hungry, and had 
had about enough of travelling about in such an absurd 
fashion. So landing at Mud Island, the dugong was rolled 
up on shore, and a big fire was made, and he was roasted 
and cut up, and divided out to all — young and old — who had 

Whilst the enjoyment of eating was in fuU swing, what should 
happen but that the old woman ghost of the island should 
sniff the air, and she said to herself, " There must be something 
nice near at hand, I'll go and see." So arriving on the scene, 
she greeted them all with, " Hullo, my grandchildren, I'm 
hving here, and am hungry, give me some food." They gave 
her something, and the old thing, making a pretence of going 
off for a dilly, went really to lay plans for the capture of all 
the flesh. But they suspected this, so the moment her 
back was turned, hastily got into their canoes, and made 
off with it all. Coming back, she found they had gone, 
and' looking seawards, saw them in their canoes. In her 
rage, she ran right out into the water, and hitting at the waves 
made them rise up and capsize the lot. Each separate 
piece of flesh then turned into a dugong, and the water 


round about was filled with them, also with the bodies of 
those who had waited so long for their feast. Some of the 
latter were drowned and some escaped, and so endeth the 
story of the bittern and his joke. 

ill * * * * * 

In some of these " fairy tales " mention is made of burial in 
the ground. Now, as I have before stated, the Tturbal tribe, 
when they did not eat their dead, always placed them 
up on trees. It was different, however, with the island 
tribes, who dug graves in the ground, most probably 
because the sandy soil was easily managed, whereas to the 
others it would mean a hard piece of work always. Graves 
were not made in the shape we make them, but alwaj^ round. 
A body was not allowed to touch the sand, but first sheets 
of tea-tree bark were put in the hole, and the corpse, wrapped 
in more bark, placed on these. Then sticks were stuck in 
the earth round about the body, and these supported a sort 
of bark roof over it, on to which the sand was then shoved in. 
Some islanders had the idea that to mourn by the graveside 
of a relative cured their ills. Tales were, of course, repeated 
from one tribe to another. 

A Faithful Bride. 

Three brothers once lived on Peel Island who all admired 
and wished. to marry the same young girl — a daughter of 
a great chief. So they went in turn to her, taking an offering 
of food, to see if she would have them. But she evidently 
was saucy, and would have nothing to do with the first two 
who went, and the remaining brother was sick and thin, 
and anything but nice to look upon. When his turn came to 
go, his brothers kicked him and jeered at him, sajdng, " She 
won't have you ! " However, he went for healing to the 
graveside of their mother, who had lately died, and when 
he came away he was quite well and strong and nice-looking, 
and, presenting himself before the young girl, she married 
him. So that his brothers should not know this, he hid her 
under the water, and day by day took food to her there. 

At last the brothers began to notice something, and they 
more than once suspected the truth — that he had married 


the young girl. So, by-and-bye, they offered to help him 
build a hut for her, and to this he agreed. When the hut 
was finished they used to coax their brother out with them 
day by day, and did all in their power to cause him to meet 
his death. Of course, they tried to hide this intention, but 
he saw through it all very well, and told his wife, saying 
that if a httle bird came into her hut at any time, and dropped 
from its beak a drop of blood, she would know that he had 
been killed. 

One day the three went fishing, and somehow the married 
man got his hands caught fast in a shell, and leaving him 
there alone to perish, the brothers went home, thinking, of 
course, that now one of them could marry the young girl. 
In the meantime, though, the httle bird had gone to the hut, 
and so, knowing what had happened, th^ wife killed herself 
before anyone could turn up. Finding this state of affairs, 
the brothers went off to where they had left the poor unfortu- 
nate, thinking that if he were, stiU alive possibly the wife's 
Ufe might be restored. But he was gone — ^had turned into 
a fish and drifted seawards. 

And so the poor young wife's married hfe ended thus 
early, and she turned into " winnam " (breadfruit) flowers. 
And the husband did not remain a fish, but became a rainbow, 
and always after this, to the end of time, the pair of them 
were able to gaze one upon the other to their heart's content, 
which must have been very satisfying. 

The Dog and The Kangaroo. 
An old man who Uved with his tribe on a httle island 
possessed a dog which he was exceedingly fond of. One day 
this dog, wandering round, perceived a kangaroo over on 
another island, and swimming across began to chase it. 
Of coiuse, the kangaroo made off, and the dog followed. 
Now, the old man missed his dog, and picking out his tracks, 
got into a canoe and crossed over after him. And this is 
what he saw : — ^His dog was chasing a kangaroo, and every 
now and then the animal would tire and he down to rest, 
and the dog, being tired as well, also laid down, and the two 
would look at one another. The old man thought that in 


these intervals he could catch up to the pair, but whenever 
the kangaroo saw the man approach, he made off again, 
and the dog followed, in spite of many calls and entreaties 
from his master. 

This sort of thing went on till many, many miles had been 
traversed, and the old man often stood stockstiU and scratched 
his head, wondering what had come to his dog. He did 
not blame his favourite, however, but all the time heaped 
curses upon the kangaroo, saying it was certainly his fault. 
At length the kangaroo and dog both got into the water, 
one after the other, and started to swim to yet another island. 
Landing, they were both so exhausted that they died. The 
old man could not see this, however. When he saw them 
swimming he stood helplessly watching and crying, and 
at length turned back again, and seeking his canoe, went 
home to his island, waiUng all the way, for had he not but 
one dog, and that one surely lost to him now ? 

Time passed, and one day some strange men from the dis- 
tant island, visiting friends, told the old man that they had 
seen the dead bodies of the dog and the kangaroo. 

The Cause of the Bar in South Passage. 

The following is not a " fairy tale," for the aborigines 
really thought and declared it weis true : — 

A young fellow from " Wiji-wiji-pi " (Swan Bay) was 
once traveUing along the outside beach of Stradbroke Island 
when he came to a hut and a campfire. Now, he wanted a fire- 
stick, so took just one from the fire, and went on again. There 
happened to be an old woman in the hut who owned the fire, 
and she saw him do this, and was so angry that she followed 
in the blackfellow's tracks, right along the beach, on and on 
till they came to Point Lookout, and then round to Amity. 
Here on the beach at Amity there were canoes, and the young 
fellow, seeing this, hastily launched one and got into it, 
and pulled across to Moreton Island. The old woman did 
likewise, and then on and on again they went, as formerly 
on the outside beach, till at last they came to " Gunemba " 
(Cape Moreton), where a large number of blacks were camped. 


In from the beach kippas were going through with their 
ceremony, and the young fellow ran in amongst these, thinking 
to hide himself. But the old woman was too smart for that, 
and she followed and picked him out from amongst the lot, 
and, shoving him into a huge dilly, so carried him back 
again away round to the canoes. Laying him down on the 
beach, she went to launch a canoe, and while her back was 
turned the prisoner contrived to get loosened somewhat, 
and taking a couple of bone skewers (used for combing hair) 
from his back hair, he was ready with these to poke the 
woman's eyes out as she stooped to lift him up again. After 
that, of course, she was helpless, and so the young fellow 
got free of the bag, and lifting and carrying his enemy, placed 
her in the launched canoe, and left her to drift away. She 
drifted out to the high bank in South Passage, and stuck 

This old woman's bones, washed by the water, gradually 
heaped up and up on the bank, and formed what we now 
know as the Bar there. Wonderful, no doubt, this may seem 
to us, but to the aborigines it was all quite true ! 

Sometimes short tales formed themes for the substance 
of a corrobboree, though these latter were generally founded 
on fact. As, for instance, the following : — 

A young fellow went forth to fight with all his tribe, leaving 
his wife and child at home. Meeting the enemy, he got 
speared, and was killed, and his comrades buried him where 
he fell. On their return to camp the wife was told of what 
had happened, and putting her child on her back, she at 
once went to seek the grave. Finding it, she placed the child 
on the ground, and digging up the earth came to the body. 
Here she then lay, singing to herself in a lamenting fashion, 
while the child went in and out of the grave, up and down, 
playing all the time while the mother mourned. 

In the corrobboree the wail this woman sang was repeated 
many times, and her action at the grave described. 

A water-Uzard or " magil " (moggill) was lying on a log 
in the water, and he was extremely comfortable, warming 


himself in the sun. A blackfellow came along and frightened 
the lizard, who slid off into the water, then as he swam away 
turned round and said, " You shouldn't disturb me ; I 
was comfortable in the sun." 

With regard to reptiles, animals, or birds, etc., the natives 
were wonderfully quick and accurate in noticing every 
little detail and peculiarity of habit, much more so than 
many white people. For instance, they could tell just how 
a " magil " would lie on a log in the water sunning himself, 
and they knew evidently that the warm sun was pleasant 
to him. They knew, also, just how he would slide off into 
the water when any disturbance came along. Exactly how 
a bird would sit watching for fish, almost the expression 
on its face as it pointed its beak (if it is allowable to speak 
of " facial expression " with regard to a bird), seemed to 
come to them instinctively. This gift of observing detail 
was natural to them, and they possessed it all unconsciously. 
It must have been very useful to them in those old days. 
White people with this same gift — ^people who see things 
with " seeing eyes " — love nature very, very much more 
than those who look and see nothing. 

Of course, tales drawn from the imagination were recognised 
as such. No blackfellow really thought that animals went 
to a " bon-yi " feast, or that birds would go hunting kangaroos, 
as in the following : — 

A magpie was once out after kangaroo, and, seeing some, 
he hunted them towards his son, the butcher-bird, calling 
out that they were coming. The butcher-bird, who was in 
readiness, called his sweet note in reply, and then he killed 
two and carried them home to his mother, camped on the 
edge of the scrub. This son then took to his wings, and 
went off hunting again, going far, far away from his parents, 
to whom he never came back. 


Duramboi— His Return to Brisbane — Amusing the Squatters — His Subsequent 
Great Objection to Interviews — Mr. Oscar Fristrdin's Painting — Duram- 
boi Making Money — Marks on His Body — Rev. W. Ridley -A Trip tO' 
Enoggera for Information— Explorer Leichhardt — An Incident at York's- 
Hollow — An Inquiry Held. 

HAVE spoken of the way in which different 
aboriginal tribes were related one to the other 
by marriage. When a man had a wife given 
?him from a neighbouring tribe, he stayed with 
that tribe for some time, hunting with them, etc., as though 
he were one of themselves, before he took his wife to his 
own people. When he did take her to his own tribe, he 
introduced her to his friends, and if his mother or sisters 
were alive they would look after and be very kind to her. 
Subsequently his friends invited some of her friends to live 
and hunt with them for awhile. This sort of thing was done 
from tribe to tribe. My father has known them aU connected 
in that way — the Ipswich and Brisbane, the Brisbane and 
the Pine, the Pine and Bribie Island, and the Bribie 
Island and Maroochy blacks, etc. 

Often in this way aborigines would stay for some time 
with tribes other than their own, just as white people travel 
to visit their friends. So it was that Father encountered 
some of the very old blackfellows of early times, hailing: 
from different parts, and he had long yarns with them on 
various subjects. Once at a " bon-yi " feast on the Blackall 
he came across two or three men who belonged to the tribe 
the white man, " Duramboi," had lived with those fourteen 
or fifteen years. These men said they were very sorry 
when " Duramboi " left them ; they cried a lot, for they 
missed him very much. They all looked up to him. He was 
a great man to hunt for game, was always lucky in spearing 
kangaroo, and was a good hand at spear and boomerang 


throwing. He could also climb splendidly, using a vine 
as they did, and was so smart in capturing 'possums or honey. 
Then he was a great fighter. 

When Father was a boy of about eleven years old, he was 
sitting one day on his father's verandah on the Bight, listening 
to several squatters who were yarning there. Presently one 
of these latter jumped up in excitement, calling, " Here 
comes Petrie and his crew ! " and sure enough a boat was 
in sight coming round Kangaroo Point. Off the squatters 
all ran down to the river bank, followed by the boy, and 
they went to the spot where the steamers now leave for 
Humpybong — there was no wharf then, of course. 

This was the arrival of Andrew Petrie from his trip to 
Wide Bay in 1842, when he brought back with him Davis 
(" Duramboi ") and Bracefield (" Wandi "). When the boat 
got in close to shore, " Duramboi," who was in the bow, 
took hold of the boathook to fend, her off, and to hold her 
steady while the others got ashore. A little thing made an 
impression on the boy's mind. As " Duramboi " stood there, 
he licked the palm of his hand so that the boathook would 
not slip, in exactly the same way as the natives licked their 
hands preparatory to throwing a waddy or boomerang. 

That same night of the landing, some of the squatters 
got " Duramboi " and " Wandi " to sing aboriginal songs, 
and tell them about the blacks. The two men sat down 
tailor-fashion as the natives do, and one had a couple of 
waddies and the other had boomerangs, and with these 
they beat time to their song. The squatters kept them 
going for nearly half the night. 

" That would have been the time," says my father, " if 
some one had taken Davis in hand, to write the history 
■of his life among the blacks ; it could have been got easily 
from him then, before he got back into ' white ' ways. After- 
wards he and ' Wandi ' would say nothing about their 
former life. It was a great pity some one did not do it, 
for such would have been worth reading. However, in 
those days men were more for fun and devilment than for 
writing peoples' lives. 


[ To /act- /. /j()- 


" To show you how stubborn Davis was later on, I said 
to him some time after his return, ' Davis, you ought to get 
some one to write your Ufe among the blacks — you could 
make a lot of money.' 

" ' I don't want to make money. I get enough now 
to keep me. If any one wants to know about the blacks, 
let them go and live with them as I did. I'll tell you a thing 
that happened the other day. A swell who lives in this towa 
brought another swell with him to me, and said, " Mr. Davis, 
allow me to introduce Mr. So-and-so to you, from Sydney ;. 
he has come all the way to see you, and to get some information 
about the blacks." Do you know what I said to him ? 
I said, " Do you see the door there ? Well, the sooner 
you get out of my shop the better, and if you want any 
information about the blacks, take your clothes off and go 
and hve with them as I did." And off they went with their 
tails between their legs, and I saw nothing more of, them. 
No one will get anything from me about the blacks.' " 

This was quite true, according to my father, and you might 
just as well have tried to pump the river dry as get anything 
from Davis in those days. He would never allow anyone 
to take his photo, (there were no snap-shots then), and I 
am informed that the well-known printing of him by Mr. 
Oscar Fristrom, of Brisbane, was painted not without a great 
deal of trouble, after the man had died. I am indebted 
to that artist for my illustration, and to him belongs the 
honour of bringing into existence, the original from which 
all others have been taken. 

Duramboi was a blacksmith by trade, and after Mr. Andrew 
Petrie. brought him back with " Wandi," the pair were not 
put with the other prisoners, but each got a " ticket of leave."^ 
Therefore they were free to work for others or for themselves, 
so long as they did not leave the country. " Wandi " was 
signed over to Dr. Simpson at Goodna (called Red Bank 
in those days), and he was killed some time afterwards through 
a Umbof a tree falling on him. Davis was started with a black- 
smith's shop at Kangaroo Point, and he got on well, and 
made money. After some time he married, and later bought 
a piece of grourd on the north side in George Street, next 


to Gray's boot shop, and there he put up a black- 
smith's shop and started afresh. He prospered, and 
made a lot of money, so bought property in Burnet Lane, 
where he and his wife went to live. After this he built 
a small brick store alongside his smithy, and went in for 
selling crockery, giving up the other business. 

So things went on till Mrs. Davis took ill and died. The 
old man lived in single blessedness for some time, then, as is 
the way of man, although his married life had not been 
smooth, he " longed to be married again," with the result 
that he wedded a widow with one daughter, and this wife 
outlived him. 

I have already spoken of the ornamental marks Davis 
had on his body. He had also spear and other marks gained 
through fighting. " Tom " saw all of these — Davis showed 
them to him when he was first brought back from the bush. 
" A few months after his return, though," Father says, 
" I don't think he would have shown his marks even to the 

In the early days the Rev. W. Ridley came to Brisbane to 
learn what he could about the Queensland aborigines, and 
he sought out my father, who was quite a lad at the time, 
to get information from him. He seemed very clever, and 
as fast as the boy could speak the language he was able to 
write it down. He took a part of the Bible and read out verse 
after verse, and the lad followed in the black's tongue. After- 
wards reading out the aboriginal version for his young com- 
panion's approval, it was almost as though a blackfellow 

This was after the return of Davis to civilization, and Mr. 
Ridley wished an interview with this man of unusual ex- 
perience, and asked Father to manage it for him. He was 
about to journey to the Dawson River to see the blacks there, 
and wanted some words of the language that Davis 
knew. So Father went to " Duramboi," and asked him to 
come to Mr. Ridley, but the man flatly refused, sajdng, 
" If he wants to know about the blacks let him take his clothes 
off, and go among them and live with them, as I did." Father 
tried to coax and get round him, but he would not move. 


However, nothing daunted, the young fellow went again 
next day, and at last " Duramboi " gave in, and said he would 
go, " as your father and mother were so kind to me ; but 
he (meaning Mr. Ridley) will do no good with the blacks." 
So the pair of them went to the reverend gentleman, and 
the latter started to read a verse of the Bible to Davis, who, 
however, would not follow, but said he would give names of 
animals and things like that, which he did, Mr. Ridley taking 
them down. 

On Mr. Ridley's return from his trip he told Father that 
nearly all the blacks he came across understood what he 
(Father) had told him, but on the contrary, he only met 
two who understood the words from Davis. This was because 
he had gone too far inland, for of course Davis thoroughly 
knew the language and all else about the tribe he had lived 

At this time there was very little communication between 
Sydney and Moreton Bay — as Brisbane was then called. 
Only about once a month or two a vessel would arrive 
■with stores for the settlement. Some few days after Mr. 
Ridley's return from the Dawson, and on the night beforCj 
a boat was to leave for Sydney, that gentleman, accompanied 
by a Rev. Mr. Hausmann, turned up at my grandfather's house 
at about eight o'clock, with the object of getting Father 
to go with them out to a blacks' camp. Mr. Ridley said he 
had heard there was a great gathering of natives at " Buyuba," 
or as the whites called it, " Three Miles Scrub " (now known 
as Enoggera Crossing), and as he was obliged to leave for Sydney 
next morning he would like to talk to the blacks that night. 
Father said it was too late to look up a horse to accompany 
them (they both had horses), and his father (Andrew Petrie) 
thought so too. However, Mr. Ridley in the end persuaded 
the Scotchman to allow his son to go. " He is a young lad, 
and it is only three miles to walk, it won't hurt him," he said. 
So off they went, the boy tramping alongside as they rode. 

When the scrub on the creek at the crossing was reached 
it was very dark, and they could see nothing, though the blacks 
were heard talking in the distance. The road ran through 
the scrub, and when the two riders got about half-way through 


they dismounted, and the boy thought to himself, " At 
last they are going to give me a spell on horseback." But 
no, down on their knees they went, and he watched them 
as they prayed. When they had finished, they warned the 
boy not to call out, as that would frighten the blacks and 
make them run away, but " Tom " thought he knew one 
better, and said the best way would be for him to cooey, 
as they would know who it was then, otherwise none would 
remain to be interviewed — they would all make off, thinking 
some one was after them. His companions agreed to this, 
and they both mounted again. 

It tickles one's sense of humour to imagine the feeling of 
half amusement and disgust with which the boy saw them 
do this. No doubt his young legs had not been idle all day, 
and he would like to have rested them. Boys, I am sure, 
often think their elders do not consider their feelings suffici- 
ently, though this boy did not complain of the incident. Still, 
they have feelings, of course, and one would not lose by remem- 
being it ; rather the opposite, for a right-minded boy would 
never take advantage of kindly consideration. Most likely 
" Tom " would have refused if he had been asked to ride 
more than just a little way. However, no doubt, Mr. Ridley's 
mind was much preoccupied, and he did not, of course, 
think of such a thing as a youngster's tired legs. 

When this party of three had got through to the other side 
of the scrub. Father cooeyed (at that time he could cooey 
as well as any blackfellow), and the natives knew his call 
and answered, and some of them came forward to meet their 
visitors. Arriving at the camp, the boy told them what his 
white friends had come for, and they all clustered round, 
men and women, and, squatting down, prepared to listen. 
Mr. Ridley brought out his notebook, and, opening it, pro- 
ceeded to read out something of what Father had previously 
given him ; then he talked to them for about half-an-hour, 
and sang a hymn he had made from the aboriginal words. 
During all this the blacks looked at one another, and the 
knowing ones pointed at the white boy, and made signs 
as though to say, " We know who told him all this." At 
length they began to tire, being kept at it too long, and one 


by one got up and walked away till at last almost all had gone 
off to their different huts. So the white men bade them good- 
night, and returned to Brisbane, and the boy was not sorry 
when the end of his walk came, as it was late. " I was glad 
to get to my bed," he tells me. 

Next day some of the young blackfellows turned up at 
the Petries' home, and they said to Father they knew who 
had told that man all his rubbish, and picking up a piece of 
paper started mimicking Mr. Ridley. Then they asked,- 
" Where that fellow stop ? " " Oh, he has gone away 
in a big ship to Sydney." " When he come back ? " and 
so on. That night at Enoggera, there were some two hundred 
blacks in camp, and Mr. Ridley and Mr. Hausmann seemed 
pleased they had seen so many all together, and were able 
to speak to them. 

Another gentleman, long since dead, whom my father 
remembers meeting when a boy, was the explorer, Leichhardt. 
He also visited my grandfather Petrie, and got " Tom " 
one day to accompany him through the bush and help collect 
plants and seeds. 

Here I may mention an incident already spoken of by 
Mr. Knight in his work, " In the Early Days." In 1849, 
when Father was a boy of about seventeen, a man named 
Humby was brickmaking in York's Hollow, just about where 
the show-ring of the Exhibition now is. One night, between 
ten and eleven o'clock, this man came to the Petries' house 
in a great state of fear, and said that a blackboy employed 
by Grandfather had told him that the blacks had run a bullock 
into the swamp at a place the natives called " Barrambin " 
(where Mr. P. M. Campbell's house now stands), and that 
they had hamstrung it and intended to roast and eat it. 
Father's eldest brother, John, who was a young man then 
(some dozen years older than " Tom "), came and woke 
him up and told him Humby's story. Father said he didn't 
believe a word of it, the blacks wouldn't touch anything 
belonging to the Petries. " Never mind," said John, " you 
must come and see if it is the case. Humby has gone to inform 
the police, and we must get out there before they arrive." 


So they went off, accompanied by two men in Grandfather's 
emplo3niient — John Brydon and William Ballentine — and 
reaching the camp at Bowen Hills, Father, who was the only 
one who could speak the native's tongue, told the blacks 
the story of the bullock. They said it was all lies, that 
the blackboy had invented the story out of revenge because 
an old gin had beaten him. Finding the boy, who turned 
out to be one of his playmates called " Wamgul," Father 
asked whatever made him tell such a story. The boy owned 
to his fault, saying that the gin had beaten him so soundly 
that he declared he would go and tell Humby, the brickmaker, 
a story about a bullock being killed, and then she would get 
punished along with the rest. Hearing that this was how 
it stood, John Petrie asked his young brother to get two 
natives to accompany them to the swamp that the bullock 
was supposed to have been driven into, but hardly had they 
got down the hill on the way there, when bang ! bang ! 
sounded behind them at the camp they had just quitted. 
Turning, they all started to run back again up the hill, meeting 
as they ran the poor darkies rushing frantically pell-mell 
down to jump into the creek, bullets whistling overhead. 
John Petrie called out " stop firing," and then he sought 
Lieutenant Cameron, who was in charge, and explained 
to him that it wa.-- all stories about the bullock. So the 
lieutenant called his men together and gave the order, " Right 
about face, quick march ! " and off they went to Brisbane. 

It seems that when Humby went for the police, Chief 
Constable Fitzpatrick was in bed, and did not think it worth 
while getting up, so he got a man under him to tell Dr. Ballow 
(a magistrate) about the affair. The latter in his turn was 
not sure how he should act, so he asked Lieutenant Cameron 
of the military, to take it over. The lieutenant divided 
his men into two, and it was the half who were not under 
his immediate supervision who so thoughtlessly and cruelly 
fired on the blacks. 

The next day Grandfather sent his son out to the camp 
to see if anything serious had happened. On the way the 
boy met a number of natives coming in, three of them wounded 
— one had been shot on the thigh, another on the arm, and 


the third had a flesh wound on his forehead, where a ball 
had grazed. They all said to Father, " What for the diamonds 
(soldiers) shoot us ? We did nothing." Their friend ex- 
plained how it had all happened, and they were quite satisfied, 
and told him to go to camp and he would find " Wamgul " 
lying there wounded, unable to rise ; and also if he went to 
the swamp, he would see for himself that no bullock had been 
there. " Tom " went, and found " Wamgul " in great pain, 
and then going to the swamp, he saw that the natives were 
quite correct. So when he got home again, he told his father 
and his brother John, of the wounded men and the boy, 
and that there were no traces of the bullock. " Wamgul " 
was then brought into the hospital, and it was not very long 
before he recovered. About three years afterwards this 
boy joined the black police, and was sent up country. He 
remained in the force till his death. 

, An inquiry was held on this affair, and Father was sent 
for to interpret for the blacks. Only two soldiers were found 
guilty, as bullets were missing from their pouches, while 
the others had theirs full. These two were sentenced to 
six months' imprisonement, and Chief Constable Fitzpatrick 
lost his billet through appreciating his bed somewhat too 


A Messagi to Wivcnhoe Station after Mr. Uhr's Murder — Another Message 
to Whiteside Station — Alone in the Bush — A Coffin Ready Waiting — • 
The Murder at Whiteside Station — Piloting "Diamonds" Through the 
Bush — A Reason for the Murder — An Adventure Down the Bay — No 
Water ; and Nothing to Eat but Oysters — A Drink out of an Old Boot 
—The Power of Tobacco— "A Mad Trip." 

pN about 1846, when my father was a young boy of 
fourteen or fifteen years, he was sent with a 
fetter to Wivenhoe Station, on the Brisbane 
'River, just after the murder by the blacks of 
Mr. Uhr there. A blackfellow accompanied him, to show 
him the road to the station. After leaving Brisbane, the 
first night was spent at Moggill Creek, and the next day 
the two, after travelling a good many miles, came to a large 
scrub on the river, where a number of blacks were making 
a great noise hunting paddymelons. The black man cooeyed, 
and the others hearing him, came to the travellers,' and 
finding where they were going, and who Father was, they 
were very nice, and invited the pair to stay with them that 
night, which they did. The white boy lay half the night 
listening to the blacks exchanging news with the visitor, 
laughing and joking away quite happily. 

Next day they resumed their journey, and on reaching 
the station Father delivered the letter, and was taken inside 
and refreshed. They stayed the night there, and the following 
day the boy was given another letter to take back to Brisbane 
for Richard Jones, who lived where Sir Samuel Griffith 
now lives at New Farm, and who, if my father remembers 
correctly, was a relative of the murdered Mr. Uhr. On the 
return journey another night was spent with the blacks, 
who welcomed them heartily, and sped them on their way 
to Brisbane, where they arrived safely. 


On yet another occasion " Tom " was trusted with a letter, 
but this time he went alone, and his destination was Whiteside 
Station. The letter carried the news that old Captain Griffin 
had arrived in Brisbane, and needed horses to take him out 
to the station, where his wife and grown-up family were 
already settled. It was late in the afternoon when the boy 
started, and darkness overtook him ere the scrub at the 
present Cash's Crossing was reached. He proceeded to go 
through the scrub, however, but it was so dark, that giving 
the horse his head, he retraced his steps back to the edge 
again, lest he should lose himself, and decided to wait till 

This is the one memory my father has of feeling a little 
afraid in the bush. He lay down with his horse's 
bridle fixed firmly to his arm, and in that position slept (?) off 
and on for some hours, being aroused every now and then 
by a pull at his arm, as the horse started at some noise. 
It must have been rather an uncanny feeling lying there 
alone in the darkness — alone, and yet not alone, if one counts 
the innumerable 'possums and other creatures with their 
weird noises. 

Poor old Captain Griffin met his death through, one hot 
day, quenching his thirst from what he thought was a cask 
containing water. However, the fluid proved to be a wash 
for sheep with footrot. His widow was a lady, who, years 
before her death, had her own coffin prepared ready. It 
reposed somewhere up in the loft awaiting its day of usefulness. 
My father has seen it. many a time. It is said that she showed 
the curiosity to visitors. 

Another time the blacks had attacked two shepherds 
at the Upper North Pine at, Whiteside Station, and killing 
one, left the other for dead. The latter had his nose broken 
and his face otherwise disfigured with a waddie, but he lived. 
Word was sent to Brisbane about this murder, with the 
request that some one would be sent out to try and catch 
the murderers. Therefore about a dozen soldiers were told 
off for the duty, and instructed to go to the station and see 
what they could do. My father was sent for, and asked 


if he would accompany the red-coats, as they did not know 
their way through the bush. 

Very early one morning the party started, and when 
they had got about half way the soldiers began to tire. It. 
was a very hot day, and their heavy red coats and muskets 
made them grow damp and feel uncomfortably warm. So 
down they sat for a rest, saying prayers on behalf of the blacks, 
and some flung off their coats to get cool, and others turned 
to Father and said, " How far have we got to go yet ? " and 
when he told them they growled again. 

After half-an-hour's rest they wearily continued their way, 
but every little while pa.used and asked again how far it 
was, blessing the road and the " black devils " until at length, 
when almost in sight of the station, they sat down again, 
declaring they would not move a foot further ! " The station 
is just over the ridge, there " said Father, but they only swore 
and said they didn't care ; they'd stay where they were. 
After a little, however, five or six volunteered to go with their 
young guide, and when they reached the station the stockman 
was sent to bring the others. 

Next day the soldiers were taken to where the murder 
had been committed, in order to catch the blacks, but it 
was of no use, as the latter by then were all down in Bribie 
Island, and the soldiers might just as well have tried to 
fly as catch them. Father returned to Brisbane without 
the " diamonds " for company this time, who, though they 
stayed a few days longer, did not accomplish their object. 
Some years after the murder of this shepherd, the natives 
told my father why they had killed him. Once, they said, 
they went to his hut and looked in. No one was about, 
but they saw some flour, and feeUng hungry went off with 
some, and made a damper of it. When cooked they com- 
menced to eat, but found it " barn " (bitter) ; then some 
got sick, and three of the number " very much jump about," 
and died. The rest of the damper was thrown away, and 
the blacks swore that they would have revenge for their 
friends. They also said that while they were hunting for 
'possums and sugarbags on this run, two or three of them 
were shot, and a white man riding, came unexpectedly 


upon one poor fellow, and caught and tied him to a tree 
and flogged him with a stockwhip, telling him on his release 
that if he caught him again on the ground he would shoot 

Can one wonder that the blacks committed murder ? 
Father remembers a yam he had about fifty years ago with 
several very old blackfellows at one of the " bon-yi " feasts 
he attended. These men told him that a great many blacks 
and gins and pickaninnies were poisoned at Kilcoy Station 
— they were there at the time. The white fellows gave them 
a lot of flour, and it was taken to camp and made into dampers 
and eaten. Shortly after some of those who had eaten 
of it took fits, and ran to the water, and died there ; others 
died on the way, and some got very sick, but recovered. 
The old men showed how each poor poisoned wretch had 
jumped about before he died. 

Another time in the early days, during my father's boyhood, 
a Mr. Hill, a contractor in Brisbane, asked Mr. Petrie, senior, 
if he would allow " Tom," his son, to go with him to the 
Logan River, as he wished to take possession of a raft of cedar 
timber he had bought there. He said he would be very 
grateful for the lad's company, as he knew then he would 
be all right should they encounter any natives. My grand- 
father demurred at first, but afterwards gave in, and Father 
had just to go and be content. Mr. Hill also wanted a black- 
fellow, so the boy picked one of the name of " Wonggin-pi " 
(" Wonggin " is the tail part of a kippa's head dress.) He 
had no trouble in getting this blackfeUow — a dozen wished 
to go when they heard of the trip, and that Father was going. 

Mr. Hill procured a boat about the size of a ferrry boat, 
and got a sail for it, then put on board a three-gallon keg of 
water, also a kettle and rations to last about a fortnight. 
The party started in the early morning from Petrie's Bight — 
a crew of four — Mr. HUl, his man (Old Tom), " Wonggin-pi," 
(the blackfeUow), and last, though not least, my father. 
They had a nice gentle breeze from the north-east, and got 
along first rate, reaching Coochimudlo that night, where on 
the mainland they found two men and two or three blacks 
with the raft waiting to deliver it to Mr. Hill. It was high 


water at the time, so the latter could not, of course, measure 
the timber, but in the morning the raft was high and dry, 
so it was then measured and taken over, and the men were 
given an order for their money in Brisbane. The raft was 
not very large, and the timber was all hand-sawn in to square 
flitches, the bottom tier being held fast by chains, and a number 
of logs lay on top. The party made fast the raft to the bank, 
and stayed where they were that day, taking a look round 
about. It was a time of drought, and everything looked 
wretched and dry, and they had very hard work finding 
water — almost all the waterholes were empty. However, 
they got enough to fill their keg and kettle. 

Mr. Hill now decided to leave the raft where it was, go to 
where the sawyers were cutting the timber in the scrub 
up the Logan or Albert River (it is not remembered which), 
and pick it up on their return. So they made a start, the 
men and blacks who had brought the raft accompany- 
ing them in their own boat. Arriving at the place, the 
sawyers showed Mr. Hill all the fine timber round about, 
and the party stayed there in the scrub a few days. 

On the return journey, when the river had been traversed 
down to its mouth, they came across a bank of fine oysters, 
about two hundred yards from a small island. Thinking 
it would be nice to take some with them, they decided to fill 
a couple of bags, and in order to do so stuck a stick in the 
mud to tie the boat to, and intending to be but a short time 
away, left the sail up. Filling one bag, they carried it to 
the boat, and telling the darkie to get in and bail out, went 
to fill the second. Suddenly, while in the midst of this, 
a strong gust of wind blew up, and away went the boat, 
darkie and all. The tide was fast coming in on the bank, 
and the boat was fast drifting away, with the blackfellow 
helplessly putting an oar out first on one side, then on the 
other, which, of course, pulled the boat round, and every 
moment things got worse. ■ 

In the meantime Father was caUing with all his might 
to the blackfellow to pull the sail down, and at last the dis- 
tracted fellow heard and did so, but after that again he paddled 
with one oar as formerly, and, of course, went on drifting 


further and further away. He did not seem to hear, though 
the boy called his loudest to use both oars, and at last was 
so far away that Father thought he would never get back. 
By this time the water was up to the waists of the three on 
the bank, and it was rising quickly, and small sharks were 
swimming round them — they could not know but what at any 
moment a large one might appear ! 

Under these agreeable circumstances Father was for 
swimming to the island, but it turned out Old Tom and Mr. 
Hill could not swim, and they said to him, " For God's 
sake do not leave us." Father thought he could swim with 
one at a time, if they would just lean with their hands 
on his back, but before he started to carry out this proposal 
he had another look towards the boat, and discovered that 
at last the blackfellow was pulling with both oars, and coming 
in the right direction. So they waited. Nearer and nearer 
came the boat, till she reached the three, not a bit too soon, 
for the water was up to their armpits. 

" We were thankful to get into the boat," my father says, 
" and the poor old darkie was regularly fagged out. We 
put up the sail, and started on our journey again, but had 
not gone far when a strong north-east wind sprang up, and 
the sea got very nasty, so we ran for shelter to a small island, 
and pulled the boat up on the beach to save her being knocked 
about, and also to be certain that she would not be blown 
away from us again. Well, we were stuck there four days ! 
At the end of the second we had no rations or water left — 
nothing but oysters, and the more we ate of these the dryer 
we got. Poor Old Tom kept saying he would not care 
if only there was a bit of tobacco to chew. 

" On the fourth day the sea grew calm, so we launched 
the boat, and started once more on our way to the raft. It 
was a very hot day, so we decided to land on the mainland, 
and look for water. When we got ashore the darkie and I 
went off with the keg, hoping to fill it, and we also carried 
a tomahawk and a sharp stick. We travelled miles, but 
every hole we came to was dry, and though we dug in the 
swamps with the stick and tomahawk, and scraped the earth 
out carefully with our hands — no water. At last we gave 


up, and returned to the boat quite tired out, reporting our 
want of success. Old Tom said, ' Oh, if only I could get 
some tobacco, I would not care about water ; ' but Mr. Hill 
looked ' down on his luck,' and said nothing. I think, though, 
he would have given his raft of timber willingly if he could 
have got a drink, and the darkie was in a great way ; he 
kept rinsing his mouth with the salt water. My mouth 
also was in a bad state — it was frightfully dry. The only 
thing we could do was to eat oysters, and the more we did 
that the more we wanted water. It was so hot that we rigged 
up the sail of the boat for a shelter, and when night came on 
all lay down in a heap under it, and tried to go to sleep ; but 
none could. The thirst seemed to affect the blackfellow most. 

" About eight o'clock it commenced to thunder, and the 
Ughtning came. We saw that a storm threatened, so prepared 
by putting our pint pots and kettle under the points of the 
sail to catch the water. Old Tom had his boots off, so the 
darkie, unseen by the owner, took one of them, and placed 
it also under the sail. Then at last the rain came down, and 
the pint pots got full, and didn't we all have a good drink ! 

The boot also got full, and the darkie, putting it up to his 
mouth, soon emptied it, and put it back again for more ! 
The rain didn't last long, but we managed to get enough to 
drink, and to fill the kettle. 

" We started again then on our journey, and reached 
the raft, which we found all right ; so two got on to it, and 
with long poles pushed it along; while those in the boat towed 
it. We kept close to the shore, so that we could touch the 
bottom, and we took it in turns on the raft and in the boat, 
and worked with the tide. We got along all right till we came 
to the bay on the south side of Cleveland Point, when oiir 
water came to an end again, and the tide was on the turn, 
so we had to drop anchor and wait. The tide wouldn't suit 
till late in the afternoon, so the darkie and I started off 
again in search of water, leaving the others to watch the raft. 

"When we got out of the boat we sank up to our knees 
in mud, first one leg, and then the other, and had to struggle 
on so with rests in between, for it was hard work, till we 
reached firm land. Then we trudged along, and, as before. 


every hole we came to was dry. At last in following a gully 
we came to one with water, which, however, didn't look 
extra clean ; but as soon as the darkie saw it he dropped 
the keg, and, running to it, down he lay flat, and putting 
his mouth to the water drank till I began to think he would 
never stop. Then my turn came ; and, afterwards, getting 
a supply, we carried it back to the boat. When in sight 
of the latter, the darkie started jumping about in delight, 
and called out that we had plenty water. Old Tom, when he'd 
taken his drink, said if only he had a piece of tobacco to chew 
he wouldn't call the Queen his cousin ! 

" After eating some oysters, I went with the blackfellow 
on to a bank covered by a few feet of water, and there we 
tried with a boathook to spear some stingarees and small 
shovel-nosed sharks which swam about in plenty. They, 
however, were too quick for us, so we had to give up all idea 
of that sort of meal and return to the boat. 

" We now made a start for Brisbane, the darkie and myself 
on the raft, and the others in the boat, and we got round 
Cleveland Point, and went along towards Wynnum. It 
was getting late in the evening then, and we on the raft 
felt fagged out, so just lay down and went off to sleep. Waking 
some time in the night, we at first thought we had lost the 
boat, but afterwards found it had swung round and come in 
close to the raft, and the two occupants, who were also worn 
out, were fast asleep. As far as we could see, we were some- 
where between St. Helena and Wynnum, and the flood-tide 
seemed to be taking us towards the Brisbane River ; so we 
thought we would also get into the boat, lie down with the 
others, and let the boat and raft go where they liked. It 
was not long before we were asleep again, and when all woke 
in the morning we were high and dry on a mud bank in the 
Boat Passage. As luck had it, the tide had taken us in the 
right direction. 

" About nine o'clock the Custom House boat came in sight, 
coming to look for us — they thought we had all been drowned 
or killed by the blacks. They could not get nearer than 
one hundred yards because of the low tide, but Old Tom 
did not wait — ^he jumped out into the mud, and though he 


sank neaxly to his waist, went on leg by leg till at length 
he reached them. The first thing he asked for was ' tobacco ' 
— not something to eat, though he must have been very hungry 
— and when he got a fig he put half in his mouth and chewed 
away with great gusto. As soon as the tide rose they brought 
the rest of us food, which we ' tucked ' into, and soon felt 
all right again. The blackfellow commenced to mimic 
Old Tom going through the mud for his tobacco, and he lay 
down and rolled about laughing at the way the old man 
had chewed it up. He had no laugh in him while he was 
hungry ! " 

When the tide was high enough the raft was floated, and 
the Custom House boat took it in hand as far as Lytton, 
and eventually the party of four arrived in Brisbane, after 
what my father now terms a mad trip. " It was madness," 
he says, " to venture out in such a small boat so badly pre- 
pared. We thought also we would only be away a fortnight." 


A Search for Gold— An Adventure with the Blacks—" Bumble Dick" and 
the Ducks— The Petrie's Garden— Old Ned the Gardner— " Tom's " 
Attempt to Shoot Birds — Aboriginal Fights in the Vicinity of Brisbane — 
The White Boy a Witness — " Kippa "-making at Samford — Women 
Fighting Over a Young Man—" It Takes a Lot to Kill a Blackfellow "— 
A Big Fight at York's Hollow— A Body Eaten. 

^^ECAUSE my father knew the blacks so well, he 
^o" was often asked to accompany people on differ- 
ent expeditions into the bush. On his return 
from the Turon diggings in 185 1, a merchant 
of Brisbane came to him, and said that gold had been found 
at Delaney's Creek, or, as the blacks called it, " Nuram 
Nuram " — " wart " (spelt " Neurum Neurum " on the map), 
and would he go with him and have a look at the place, for 
though it had been left it might be some good. The boy 
agreed, so the merchant procured a pair of horses, a mule 
to carry the rations and blankets, and a gun and ammunition. 
When all was ready they started from the town, leading 
the pack mule, and the first night got as far as the Upper 
Caboolture, to the old deserted station where Mr. Gregor 
and Mrs. Shannon had been murdered, and camped in an 
old hut there. This hut was not far from the graves of the 
murdered. Next morning the merchant did not feel well, 
so they rested where they were for the day. Father strolling 
round and examining the graves. 

The evening of the day following Durundur was reached, 
and after hobbling the horses Father went to a blacks' camp 
near by in order to get a couple of natives to show them 
a short cut across the ranges to Neurum Neurum Creek. 
He succeeded in persuading two to accompany them — one 
an old fellow called " Dai-alin," and the other a young man , 


and they were to meet next morning. " Dai-alin " was some- 
what lame — ^had one leg shorter than the other. 

When morning came they started off, with the natives 
leading, and travelled several miles without interruption. 
Then climbing up the spur of a mountain, and going down 
the other side, they came into a very thick scrub, where 
about one hundred blacks were hunting for paddymelons, 
making a great row. The two blacks who were with the white 
men sang out to the others, who immediately clustered round 
and asked questions. Some of the young fellows grew very 
bold, and the merchant suggested to Father to get the gun 
ready, for by this time he was very much afraid ; but the, 
boy said to leave it to him, it would be all right, and he 
commenced to talk to and chaff them in their own tongue. 
Soon they were all laughing, and made no objection when 
the party started to push on, which they did with a will, 
reaching their destination that night, and camping there 
on the bank of a creek. 

Next morning after breakfast Father started to prospect 
for gold. There was an old cradle or two there on the bank, 
and a couple of crowbars, which had been left by those 
working some time before, and the holes that had been 
sunk were all filled in by a flood. He tried several places in 
the creek and got the colour, but no more, so, as it was getting 
late in the afternoon, decided to wait till next day. 

Hanging about over this sort of thing evidently did not 
suit the blacks' taste, for next morning the young fellow bolted, 
and the old man wished to go too, and take the rations with 
him. The merchant at this, thinking there was mischief 
brewing, said, " We must get out of this," and their horses 
being handy, they accordingly packed the mule, Father 
meanwhile making old " Dai-alin " hold the creature, telling 
him that if he offered to run away he would shoot him ; but, 
on the other hand, if he piloted them safely over the mountain 
to Mount Brisbane Station, he would give him flour, tea, 
sugar, and other good things. So off they went again, but 
hadn't gone far when natives appeared on every side, and 
as they didn't look at all friendly Father called to them 
in their own tongue that he would fire if they came any nearer. 

Photo hy T. Maihfivsou.\ {To Jac: /'. 13O. 


There were a lot of wild j'oung fellows in the mob, and these 
set fire to the grass all round about, but did nothing else, so the 
party got through all right, losing sight of their black friends 
eventually, to the merchant's great rehef. 

Keeping on till they got over the mountain with " Dia-alin " 
still in front, they at length came in sight of Moimt Brisbane 
Station. Here Father told the black man he could go, 
and on receiving the tobacco and other promised things, 
the darkle did so, quite pleased with his possessions. His 
white companions went on to the station, where they stayed 
the night, and next day made through the bush in a direct 
line for Brisbane, where they arrived quite safe and sound, 
none the worse for their httie adventure. In those days 
my father could find his way anywhere through the bush 
to where he wished to go, so long as the sun was shining, 
and he knew in what direction the place lay, or if he had 
been once before. One could never lose him in the bush, 
but, of course, over the mountains the blacks had tracks 
cut, and it saved time to be shown these. 

Years before this, in fact, during the time of the convicts, 
there was a poor harmless half-cripple aboriginal, called 
" Bimible Dick," who belonged to the Brisbane tribe, and 
who hung about the settiement. He'd had half his foot burnt 
off when a child. This " Bumble Dick " went once to some 
sawyers working at Petrie's Bight, and told them that if 
they would lend him a gun, he would get them " plenty ducks." 
So they lent an old musket and powder and shot, and off 
Dick started, quite pleased with himself, taking his wife 
with him. He went to the Serpentine Swamp near Nudgee, 
for in those days there were lots of ducks there, and was 
dehghted when he saw some swinmiing out from among the 
reeds. He started to load his gun, putting in plenty of 
powder and shot. Then catching sight of more ducks, and 
thinking that the more he put in his gun the more ducks 
he would shoot, he used up nearly aU the powder and 
.«hot, then he put the gun up to his shoulder and pulled 
the trigger. 

The gun went off — yes, but instead of killing a single bird 
it burst, and knocked poor Dick down with a cut on his 


forehead, also smashed up his left hand. The thumb and 
the last two fingers were blown right off, and the remaining 
ones came off at the second joint. It was lucky for " Bumble 
Dick " that his wife was with him, for he was stunned for 
some time. When he came to, his wife was crying over 
him, and she put dirt on his hand and tied it up ; then they 
started back to the camp at Brisbane, taking with them 
the broken gun. 

Next day Dick's wife returned the gun to the owners, 
and told them of what had happened to poor Dick, saying 
" Bael gettem duck." Two days after that, again, Father 
went out to see " Bumble Dick." 

" I found poor Dick sitting in his hut in a fearful state, 
the cut in his forehead full of wood ashes, and ashes on 
his smashed-up hand,, which smelt unpleasantly. The poor 
fellow was in pain. I said to him, " What for you put so 
much powder and shot in gun ? ' He replied that the more 
he put in the more ducks he expected to kill, and he did not 
think the gun would break. ' How many ducks did you 
shoot ? ' ' Bael me know ; me shot self, no go see how many 
ducks. Bael more me takem gun, that fellow very saucy.' 

" Dick was a long time recovering, but eventually he 
got all right again. If you said to him, ' Dick, you takem gun, 
and shoot me some ducks,' he would reply, ' Bael ; that 
fellow too much saucy.' You could not get poor Dick to 
take hold of a gun ever again ; indeed, he would hardly 
look at one. And Jio wonder. Even now I can see the terrible 
state his hand' was in, and just how his fingers were torn off." 

This misadventure of " Bumble Dick's" reminds my father 
of one of his own, when he was a very small boy. When the 
Petries first came to Brisbane they lived, as I have said, in a 
building on the site of the present Post and Telegraph Office until 
their own house on Petrie's Bight should be built. This 
building had formerly been used as a factory for the women 
prisoners, until they were moved to Eagle Farm. It was 
a large building, and was surrounded by a wall about sixteen 
or eighteen feet high, and some couple of feet thick. 
One large gate in this wall faced what is now Queen Street. 
Along the river bank, from Creek Street to past where Messrs. 


Thomas Brown and Son's warehouse is now, stretched the 
Petries' garden, and here they had growing peach trees, 
figs, mulberries, and lots of different fruits and vegetables, 
The blacks used to come and steal the sweet potatoes, so 
my grandfather Petrie had a hole cut in this side of the wall 
so that a watch could be kept. The blacks used to swim 
from Kangaroo Point over to the gardens. In swimming, 
as before stated, a native used a small log as a help, and 
carried his dilly on his head. 

It was generally on a Sunday, when no one was working 
in the garden, that the blacks came across for the potatoes. 
One Sunday six of them were busy at their little game when 
they were seen through the hole in the wall, and Grandfather 
and two of his sons — John and Walter — went quietly down 
to try and catch them red-handed. However, the blacks, 
seeing them approach, made off, and, taking to the water, 
started to swim to Kangaroo Point. In ' the meantime 
the pilot boat hove in sight, coming round Kangaroo Point 
on its way from Amity Point station, and she gave chase, 
sticking all the time to one blackfeUow. The man in the 
bow of the boat stood up with the boat-hook in his hand, 
ready to hook the darkie. Whenever they got near him 
the blackfeUow dived down under the water like a duck, 
and then came up again in quite a different place to what 
was expected. The boat would have to be turned then, 
and a fresh start made ; . and so this went on till the 
swimmer was almost across the river and fairly beaten, 
when the man with the boat-hook succeeded in hooking 
him and then dragging the unfortunate wretch into the 
boat. He was tied with a rope and taken to the lockup. 
Next day he was tried and sentenced to a flogging. 

My father used to get into scrapes in this garden as well 
as the blacks. His father's gardener, old Ned, a one-time 
prisoner (the natives called him " Dikkalabin "), was " an 
awful man to swear, and a cross old man. Many a time 
he used to hunt me," says Father, " and swear at me, when 
he would catch me taking fruit or watermelons. He always 
kept a horse-pistol loaded with slugs, with which to shoot 
the blacks when he caught them stealing." 


One day Father watched Ned going ta the far end of the 
garden, and then stole into his hut, and, taking his pistol, 
went to have a shot at some birds on a peach tree. There 
were a great number of birds, and so the boy made sure of 
getting some. He held the pistol close up to his face, in order 
to look along the barrel, and then pulled the trigger. The 
pistol did not burst, like " Bumble Dick's " gun, but it kicked 
frightfully, and the result was a cut lip, a bruised forehead, 
and a blackened eye for the boy. He was also knocked 
down, and when he saw the blood thought he was going to 
die, so started crying. Old Ned, hearing the report and the 
crying, ran up to the lad, cursing and swearing, and saying, 
" You will die now." Then he took the boy to his mother, 
who washed the wounds and put raw beef to the black eye, 
then put her son up in the kitchen loft. If his father had 
seen him in that state, the boy would have been severely 
punished, for my grandfather was a strict pld gentleman. 
Many a " hammering " Father got for smoking as a boy ; 
which, however, failed to cure the habit. In this case the 
youngster was kept out of the way for several days 
until his wounds were better. When his father did at length 
come across his small son, he gave him a good talking to, 
saying he had a great mind to thrash him for using the pistol, 
and " Tom " promised he would not do it again. 

In these days, fierce fights often took place among 
the aboriginals in the vicinity of Brisbane, and the 
white boy, who was here and there and everywhere 
among the blacks, of course, witnessed them. Once 
there was a great gathering from all parts of the 
country, the different tribes rolling up to witness a 
grand new corrobboree that the Ipswich tribe had brought. 
After the corrobboree a fearful fight came off, some Northern 
tribes — the Bribie, Mooloolah, Maroochy, Noosa, Durundur, 
Kilcoy, and Barambah blacks — ^ranging themselves against 
the Brisbane, Ipswich, Rosewood, Wivenhoe, Logan, and 
Stradbroke Island tribes. Altogether there were some 
seven hundred blacks, and they were camped in this wise : 
The Brisbane, Stradbroke Island, and all from the Logan up 
to Brisbane had their camp at Green Hills (overlooking 


Roma Street Station, where the Reception House is now), 
the Ipswich, Rosewood, and Wivenhoe tribes were on Petrie 
Terrace, where the barracks are, and the Northern tribes 
camped on the site of the present Normanby Hotel. 

Previous to the corrobboree, kippas had gone through 
their ceremony out at the Samford ring, and these young men 
were now taken to where the women were all dancing and 
singing on the flat in front of the present Roma Street Station. 
They were made to walk in pairs, six men, all decorated 
and painted up for the occasion, preceding them, and six 
more bringing up the rear. They started with a war whoop 
from the top of the hill, where the road turns to go up Red 
Hill, down to where the gins were dancing and singing, 
and waving about their yamsticks with bunches of bushes 
tied to the ends. These gins, seeing the boys approach, 
were deUghted to know that they were safe after having 
been " swallowed by the kundri men," and sticking their 
yajn sticks in the ground awaited their arrival. 

Always in these ceremonies the same sort of thing was gone 

through, and as they have been already described, we will 

leave them to come to where the old warriors were fighting. 

The Brisbane side chased the others as far as Red Hill, and 

then, two of the Northern blacks being wounded, one with 

a spear through the calf of the leg, and the other with a similar 

weapon through his thigh, a halt was called. This was done 

by the friends of the wounded yelling " tor," which meant 

hit or wounded. A halt in the proceedings was always brought 

about so. The Brisbane tribe then retreated, and were 

chased back as f ar cis the road that now leads to Milton on 

the river bank, when three of their side got wounded — 

one with, a boomerang in the chest, another with a waddie 

on the head, and yet another man got a spear through his foot. 

The man with the wound in the head was very bad, the waddie 

cut the skin right through to the skull ; and yet next day 

he was walking about again. 

After these happenings both sides decided on a rest for 
a while, and so they squatted down about one hundred 
yards apart. An interval passed, and then two men from 
one side got up and rushed in a threatening manner across 


to the others, who retaliated, and so things went on in the 
usual way of a fight. As the spears and waddies flew here 
and there the white boy was amazed to see how they were 
dodged. Looking on, he felt it was impossible for a man 
to escape being hit, and yet most of the weapons passed 
between legs or over heads, or were turned aside on a shield. 
When some time had been spent in a general sort of fight, 
an Ipswich blackfellow challenged a Bribie Island black 
to fight with knives and waddies, accusing him of being the 
cause of the death of a friend, and calling him all sorts of names, 
also uttering dreadful threats. The two met, and started 
viciously hitting at one another, till the Ipswich black split 
the other's shield ; then weapons were thrown aside, and 
a hand-to-hand fight with stone knives ensued. The cuts 
were frightful, and Father was relieved when at length the 
pair were separated by those looking on. It was found that 
the Ipswich black had less wounds than the other, so the former 
had to stand and allow his enemy's friends to cut him to make 
things more equal. This, as I have already stated, was always 
done. It was the aboriginal's idea of justice. 

A big fight always lasted several days, and time was allowed 
in between for the search for food. So in this case, when things 
had gone thus far, the different tribes separated, hunting 
all round about. Some, such as the Ipswich, Mount Brisbane, 
and Wivenhoe tribes, hunted in the scrub which used to stand 
near where the Toowong Railway Station is now. The 
blacks called that part " Baneraba " (Bunaraba) ; Toowong 
was their name for the bend or pocket of the river on the left 
hand side travelling from Brisbane, just before crossing 
Indooroopilly Bridge. The Logan, Stradbroke, and some 
Moreton Island blacks went over to what we call West End. 
There used to be a large scrub there on the bend of the river 
in the early days, and the blacks called the place " Kurilpa " 
(Kureelpa), which meant " a place for rats." Some crossed 
the river in canoes, and others swam across. Then some 
Northern tribes hunted at " Buyuba " (Enoggera Crossing), 
and others at the Hamilton scrub. The Brisbane tribe 
themselves kept to Bowen Hills, Spring Hill, New Farm, etc. 


When Father went out to the blacks next day to see how 
the fight was progressing he found every one in the midst 
of a great feast of all sorts of animals. After they were 
satisfied, however, they painted and decorated themselves 
again, and then much the same sort of thing went on. Women 
fought as well as men, and on this second day Father noticed 
two gins of the same tribe — one a young girl of eighteen 
years, and the other over thirty — who seemed to have a 
quarrel to settle. They fought about a young man. One 
said he belonged to her, and the other said no, he belonged 
to her ; and the jealous pair fought and squabbled very 
savagely, using not only their tongues, but also their hands 
and weapons. The younger one seemed to be getting the 
better of it, when the other suddenly made a prod with 
her yam stick, and sticking the sharp point into her enemy's 
body, killed her immediately. 

The dead girl's brother at this ran and felled the conqueror 
to the ground by a blow on the head with a waddie. The 
blow was so severe that the skull bone showed out, and the 
woman lay as one dead. Her body was carried to her hut 
then, as was also that of the other gin, and a great wailing 
and crying and hacking of flesh began. Amidst all this noise 
of the mourning it was hardly possible to hear oneself speak, 
and the white boy, growing a little frightened, went home. 

Next day, when Father again went to see how things were, 
he found to his astonishment the wounded gin sitting up ; 
he had expected to find her dead. The wound on her forehead 
was filled in with fine charcoal. The body of the dead gin 
had been skinned and eaten. 

A good many were wounded before this fight ended, the 
Brisbane side getting the better of it eventually. Afterwards, 
when all the tribes journeyed homewards in different directions, 
they took with them their wounded, carrying them on their 
shoulders, a leg on either side of the neck. 

My father has been present at numbers of aboriginal 
fights, and he says " it takes a lot to kill a blackfellow." 
One thing surprised him greatly. During a big fight at 
" Dumben " (now called Pinkenba), a blackfellow, in stooping 
down to pick up a weapon, got struck with a spear, which 


went in just above the collar-bone, and after going right 
■down through the body came to hght again. It seemed 
impossible that the man should live. And yet he did recover, 
although he fell away to a mere skeleton first. 

Another big " tulan," or fight, Father remembers at 
York's Hollow (the Exhibition). He and his brother Walter 
were standing looking on, when a fighting boomerang thrown 
from the crowd circled round, and travelUng in the direction 
of the brothers, struck Walter Petrie on the cheek, causing 
a deep flesh wound. The gins and blacks of the Brisbane 
tribe commenced to cry about this, and said that the weapon 
had come from the Bribie blacks' side, and that they were 
no good, but wild fellows. The brothers went home, and the 
cut was sewn up. It did not take long to heal afterwards. 

At that fight there must have been about eight hundred 
blacks gathered from aU parts, and there were about twenty 
wounded. One very fine blackfeUow lost his life. His 
name was " Tunbur " (maggot). In the fight he got hit 
on the ankle with a waddie, and next day died from lockjaw. 
They carried the remains, and crossed the creek where the 
Enoggera railway bridge is now, and further on made a fire 
and skiimed the body and ate it. My father knew " Tunbiu: " 
well ; he was one of the blacks who accompanied grandfather 
Petrie on his trip in search of a sample of " bon-yi " wood. 

" Tunbur " was a splendidly-made blackfeUow ; he stood 
over six feet in height, and was very strong. When Father 
heard he had been killed he rode out to the camp at Bowen 
Hills to see him, but found only a few old gins and men, 
who said the others had gone across the creek to eat " Tunbur." 
So as " Tom " was curious to see this performance, he rode 
on to the Enoggera crossing, but was again disappointed, 
as it was all over, and only a couple of old women left to 
clean the bones and put them safely in a dilly. The remains 
of the fire were still to be seen, and some Uttle distance further 
a small mound of newly-dug earth with three sticks placed 
round, nicely tied with grass This the gins said was where 
the waste parts were buried. Another stick about a yard 
away was stuck in the ground and also tied with grass Tope, 
and a bunch of grass surmounted the top, which pointed 


south. The ground was nicely cleared round this stick, 
and a footmark printed there, also pointing south. This 
told any strange blackSj^who should chance to come along 
in which direction the friends of the dead had gone, and a 
dozen trees notched all round about with little notches 
marked the place where a body had been eaten. 


Early Aboriginal Murderers — " Millbong Jemmy " and His Misdeeds — 
Flogged by Gilegan the Flogger — David Petty— Jemmy's Capture and 
Death—" Dead Man's Pocket "—An Old Prisoner's Story— Found in a 
Wretched State— Weather-bound with the Murderers on Bribie Island — 
Their Explanation — " Dundalli " the Murderer — Hanged in the Present 
Queen Street— A Horrible Sight — Dundalli's Brother's Death. 

NUMBER of white people were murdered by 
the aborigines when my father was a boy, and 
gsome of the incidents I have already told you 
of. He knew all the black murderers of those 
early days well, and had many a yarn with them. One of 
them was well-known as " Millbong Jemmy." Now this 
man's native name was really " Yilbung " — pronounced in 
English, " Yilbong." He first put in an appearance at the 
missionary station at Nundah. (Nundah means " chain of 
waterholes.") Jemmy was taken in hand with some others to 
be converted. He got on very well for a good while ; could 
say the Lord's Prayer, and the missionaries thought him a 
model. He had only one eye, this " Millbong Jemmy," 
having had the other burnt when a child, but he used it 
well, and always kept it open and on the lookout. His 
name — " Yilbung " — meant " one-eye." 

One night, having noticed where the missionaries kept 
the flour and tea and sugar. Jemmy made arrangements with 
some of his mates to be ready at a certain time to help him 
carry some of these rations. When the missionaries were 
all asleep, he helped himself to a good supply, and also to 
the loan of one of their nightgowns, then made off to the bush 
' to his mates, not waiting to say good-bye. In the morning 
when the missionaries got up, they found that their rations 
had disappeared, also Jemmy and the nightgown. There 
was a great to do about this, and going into town the mis- 
sionaries reported they had been robbed by the blacks. 


" MillboQg Jemmy " made his way down to Amity Point 
on Stradbroke Island, and got the blacks there to mark 
his body, so that he would be taken for one of them. The 
Stradbroke people had different markings to all other tribes. 
Theirs were larger and more raised, and were cut in with 
sharp shells across the body from one side to the other, 
about one inch apart, and reaching right down to below 
the waist. 

Jemmy stayed still his cuts were healed, then he left Strad- 
broke and came back to Brisbane, thinking the whites would 
not know him again. However, it was not long before 
he got himself into mischief. One day he stuck up old 
Marten, the miller, at the old windmill, and took a bag of com 
meal. He robbed the mill several times after this, and they 
failed to catch him always, so a policeman was told off to 
hide in the place, and watch for Jemmy when he came for 
his bag of meal or com. He wasn't particular which it 
was, but always took the first he came to. 

For a day or two the policeman watched, but no Jemmy 
came, till at last one mizzUng sort of day he appeared. Marten, 
the miUer, called to him, " Come on. Jemmy, here is a bag 
you can have." In went the darkie, thinking all was right, 
but as soon as he got hold of the bag, the constable pounced 
on him, and Marten helped to try and get him down. They 
hit him on the head, but Jemmy picked up an old rusty 
knife and stabbed the constable in the chest. As luck would 
have it, however, the latter had on a thick pea-jacket, and 
the knife only bent and did no harm. Then the constable 
beat the blackfellow on the shins with a baton, and that 
soon brought Jemmy to his knees on the ground, and they 
were able to put on a tight pair of handcuffs, and tie him up 
with a rope. 

Word was sent for the soldiers to come, and ten or twelve 
marched up to the Windmill. Father, boy-like, seeing the 
redcoats marching, followed them to see what was on. Arriv- 
ing at the WindmiU, the soldiers were all formed up in line 
at each side of the doorway, and " MiUbong Jemmy " was 
brought out well tied up and handcuffed — a constable on 
either side, holding him. To my father it seems as though it 


were but yesterday when he saw the soldiers and the con- 
stables march off with their prisoner from the Windmill — 
the present Observatory — and wend their way down the hill. 
Jemmy was lodged in the cells that used to stand where 
the Town Hall is now, and next day he was tried and con- 
demned to twenty-five or fifty lashes. After the lashes he 
was to exist on bread and water for twenty-four hours. 

The old archway where the prisoners were always flogged 
stood a little further up Queen Street than that part which 
Messrs. Chapman and Co. now occupy. " Millbong Jemmy " 
was tied to the triangles there, and Gilegan, the flogger, 
punished him, but was only able to make brown marks 
on his dark skin. During the flogging it is said Jemmy 
called to his mother and friends to save him. AfterwEu^ds 
he was taken, back to the cells to do his twenty-four hours, 
and was then set free, and given a shirt and pair of trousers, 
marked with the Government brand — broad arrow. His 
wrists were much cut with the tight handcuffs. 

" Millbong Jemmy " after his release took a stroll up 
to the soldiers' barracks — ^where now the present Treasury 
Buildings stands. He walked in and looked about him 
with his one eye. The soldiers or " diamonds " chaffed 
him, saying, " Hello, Jemmy, you good fellow now, no more 
steal ? " And Jemmy was emphatic in his agreement. 
All the same, he kept his weather eye open, and, seeing a 
Uttle box with tobacco in it, watched his opportunity, and 
when the soldiers' backs were turned, helped himself to a 
pound, then cleared out and made his way to the Petries' gar- 
den on the bank of the river. There he came across the old 
gardener, Ned, and gave him the tobacco in exchange for a 
diUy of sweet potatoes. 

The next my father heard of " Millbong Jemmy " was that 
he had been steaUng at Eagle Farm, then again at " Yawa- 
gara " — Breakfast Creek. Later, sawyers working in the 
scrub near the present Toowong Railway station — " Baner- 
aba " — spoke of his thieving, and other Government sawyers 
at Canoe Creek (Oxley) made the same complaint. He 
was a notorious thief. He was the only blackfellow my 
father knew who was not afraid to travel at night, and all 


alone, and would be heard of one day at one place, and 
then perhaps again the next day twenty miles away. He was 
blamed for the murder of Mr. Gregor and Mrs. Shannon, 
the sawyers at North Pine, and several other murders. Father 
often met " Millbong Jemmy " in the bush at Bowen Hills, 
and had a yam with him, and gave him a piece of tobacco. 
To the white boy he seemed kindly enough. He never 
would own that he had killed anyone, but admitted he had often 
stolen, saying he did not see any harm in taking flour when 
hungry, and that as the white men had taken away his 
country, he thought they should give something for it. 

About this time Davie Petty, who owned a cutter, was in 
the habit of using it for going down the Bay for oyster shells 
for making lime, and also for carrying firewood with which 
to burn the shells. One day he and his man were getting 
wood just at the mouth of Norman Creek, when the blacks 
came upon them, and the white men, thinking it better 
to be off, ran to the cutter. The man got on board first, 
and Mr. Petty handed him the tools, then the gun — muzzle 
foremost. As the latter was pulled down the cock caught 
in Petty's shirt cuff, and the weapon went off, shooting 
the man through the body. The owner of the cutter then 
got her out into the stream, and, dropping anchor, put the 
wounded man into the boat and puUed up to the wharf at 
the Colonial Stores. 

This all happened about four or five o'clock in the afternoon. 
Father remembers seeing them put the man on an old door 
and carry him so to the hospital, the poor fellow saying, 
" Little did I think, when loading my gun, that it was to 
shoot myself." The white boy followed the procession, 
and in the hospital got up on to the window-sill and watched 
the doctor as he dressed the wound and took out the slugs. 
AH the time he heard the poor man repeat again and again, 
" Little did I think, when loading my gun, that it was to 
shoot myself." When the doctor had finished, and was put- 
ting in some stiches, the man expired. 

" Millbong Jemmy " was blamed for being one of those 
who frightened David Petty and his man. Eventually 
ten poimds a head was offered for the capture of some of these 


aboriginal murderers. A short time after the above event 
(1846), Jemmy made his way to the scrub at " Tugulawa " 
(Bulimba), to where some sawyers were at work. One of 
these sawyers afterwards told my father the following : — 

Seeing Jemmy coming, and knowing that a reward was 
offered for his capture, they called to him, " Come on, Jemmy, 
and have a pot of tea and something to eat," and as soon 
as he was fairly seated and eating, they suddenly caught 
hold of him, and tried to tie him. But he struggled and 
fought manfuUy, almost getting free, and managed to pick 
up his waddy and strike one of them. Then they got him 
to the ground, and one of them seizing a gun shot him through 
the head. After that he was bound and put on the bullock 
draj-, and taken to the settlement, dying, however, on the 
road up. Before his arrival word spread of his capture, 
and that he was being brought in, and Father and a number 
of others started off down to the Government wharf (Colonial 
Stores) to see the much-talked of Jemmy. They waited 
till the dray appeared on the bank of the river at South 
Brisbane, and saw the driver back up as close as possible, 
then take the body by the leg, and pulling it off, let it fall 
like a log to the ground. A boat's crew of Moreton Island 
blacks were waiting at the old ferry to put the body in a boat 
and bring it across to the north side, and these men did not 
seem by their long and solemn faces to relish their job. The 
body was taken to the hospital — the site of the p^esen:^ 
Supreme Court. 

The last my father heard of " Millbong Jemmy," the " great 
thief and murderer," as he was called, was that his head 
had been cut off and boiled free of flesh, so that a cast could 
be taken of it. 

There is a place on the Caboolture River known 
as the " Dead Man's Pocket." It got its name this 
way. Three natives of twenty - five (to be referred 
to later on), who all in after years possessed my 
father's brand on their arm, were responsible for the 
death at this place of one white man, and at the same 
time the attempted murder of another. The survivor, 
who was left for dead, was one Peter Glyn, an old prisoner. 



and Father saw this man afterwards when he had come 
out of hospital, The story he told ran thus : A party of 
white men left Brisbane in a boat to go to the Caboolture 
River to look for cedar timber. At the mouth of the river 
they picked up three Bribie Island blacks, thinking they 
would be of use in guiding them to the timber that grew 
in the scrubs. Leaving the others, two of the white men 
went off with the natives, while the rest stayed to take care 
of the boat. A big strong blackfellow — Dr. Ballow, the 
whites called him — ^walked first through the scrub, and, 
following him, came Peter Glyn, then two more natives, 
then the other white man, Peter Grant. Both the men 
carried guns, the first one having a double-barrelled one. 

Travelling along in this fashion for some distance through 
the lonely scrub, Peter Grant perhaps turned over in his 
mind all the tales he had heard of the blacks, for he grew 
afraid. Calling out to Glyn, he warned him to beware of 
the natives — they intended to hit him. Glyn turned round 
and answered : " If you are frightened, it is no use you coming. 
You had better return to the boat, and I will go alone." 
However, they continued as they were for some time. Then 
once again Grant's feelings got the better of him, and he called 
out as before. Turning suddenly in response, Glyn's gun 
struck the black in front as he turned, and the weapon went 
off, the charge of shot grazing along the fellow's back, 
causing a flesh wound. Maddened by this, the blackfellow 
tried to wrest the gun from Glyn, who sang out to Grant 
to shoot the beggar, and he would then quickly do for the other 
two. However, Grant seemed unable to move, and stood 
still like a statute while his life was taken, and all the time 
Glyn's hands were beaten unmercifully in order to loosen 
his hold on the gun. They continued to hit him on the hands 
and the head till he lost consciousness. 

Coming to himself, Glyn saw Grant lying dead beside him, 
with a log across his body, and he tried to rise and walk* 
But his hands were so much bruised and swollen that the 
poor wretch could not use them, even to fix his trousers, 
which had fallen down somewhat and acted as a regular 
hobble to his legs. So there was nothing left for him but to 


crawl as best he might, and it seemed to him that he went 
this way many mUes, his misery increasing with the hours. 
For the imfortunate could not even cast off the clothing 
which hobbled him. He was in this wretched state when 
found. He lived through this only to meet a not very noble 
death in the end, some years afterwards. Through being 
somewhat the worse for drink, he fell from a fishing boat 
into the river (near Messrs. Thomas Brown and Sons' present 
warehouse), smd was drowned. 

About a week or two after this murder. Father went to 
Bribie Island to look for a boat which had been washed 
away by a flood. He started from Petrie's Bight, accompanied 
by his young brother George, two blackfellows, and a half- 
caste boy, called Neddy. At Bribie Island no blacks were 
to be seen, but fresh tracks appeared everywhere. Father 
sent off one of the old men accompanying him to follow the 
tracks, and tell aU he came across not to be afraid, that friends 
were there. In a very short space about thirty turned up, 
some with fishing nets, and they were just delighted when they 
saw Father. Going into the water they got their nets 
full, and then the shining treasures were emptied out at 
his feet. So the visitors aU had a good meal of nice fresh 

On telling the natives what he had come for. Father was 
informed that there was a boat lying on the outside beach, 
and that in the morning they would go with him, and bring 
her round into the passage. Then nothing would please 
them but that they must move their camp to near that of 
the visitors. In the morning three volunteers were ready 
to render assistance, and Father did not know till some time 
afterwards that they were the very men concerned in the 
Caboolture murder. And he was without firearms ! When 
they got round the beach to where the boat lay high and 
dry, it was found to be the one sought for, not much damaged ; 
only a few planks split in the bottom. As luck happened, 
there was not much of a sea that day, so the three blacks 
after launching the boat walked in the water beside her, 
keeping clear of the surf, and puUing her ashore to get rid 


of the water now and again, as she leaked a lot. And so on 
till smooth water was reached in the passage. 

When the boat was hauled up on to the beach and turned 
upside down, the damaged bottom was examined, and the 
blacks suggested a whitish clay as a remedy for the cracks — 
they used it for their canoes. So Father went across with 
some natives to the mainland (Toorbul Point) to obtain some, 
leaving his brother and the others on the island with the blacks. 
They were all right on his return, and the clay was a success. 
When dug from the ground it was soft and pliable, but after 
the blacks had worked at it with their hands, it became quite 
hard, and could only be removed from the boat in the end 
with a hammer and chisel. 

That night a regular gale blew from the south-east, and 
there was no hope of returning to Brisbane. It kept up, 
and at the end of three days the Petrie brothers' supply of 
rations, which was gradually diminishing, ran out, and they 
had nothing left. The blacks, finding this, were very good ; 
they brought plenty of crabs, oysters, fish, and a fern root 
they used to eat (" bangwal "), also the small fruit we call 
"geebung." (The correct native name for the latter is 
" dulandella.") Thinking of everything, the kind-hearted 
creatures even offered tobacco ! 

After living for ten days on this sort of diet, the younger 
Petrie, and also the half-caste, grew quite sick of the food, 
and could not eat much ; in fact, they did not feel at all right.. 
My father, however, enjoyed things thoroughly. He thought, 
though, that under the circumstances it would be better to 
send his brother across to the mainland, and let him walk 
to Brisbane with Neddy and two or three blacks. They 
could then also give the information there that Father was 
all right. So with some extra blackfellows to bring back 
the boat, the party started off, but had not gone far when 
another boat hove in sight sailing down to the island. Seeing 
this the party returned, and Father had the boat hauled 
ap on to the beach, and then he and his brother and Neddy 
hid behind it, leaving no one to be seen but the blacks. He 
watched from behind and saw the boat come sailing along, 
and when it got to within fifty yards of the shore, the sail 


was pulled down, and a man in the bow of the boat stood up 
with a fig of tobacco in his left hand. This he held up, trying 
to induce the natives to swim out for it. Father noticed 
he kept his right hand in his coat pocket, and, seeing this, 
and that the party were afraid to land, showed himself with 
the others. 

There were but two occupants in the boat, these being 
my grandfather's men sent to look for the lost ones. When 
they landed they said there was a report in circulation that 
the little band had all been murdered by the blacks on Bribie 
Island, and, "if we had not seen you when we came along, 
we intended shooting some natives in revenge." They meant 
to coax out men into the water for tobacco, and then shoot 
them with their loaded revolvers. 

That night for tea there was meat and bread, etc., and so 
everybody brisked up, and things were lively. The blacks 
were got to show off some of their games, and they were very 
merry too. Next day the wind changed, and the return 
to Brisbane was prepared for. Father asked the three 
blacks who had helped with the boat to journey with them 
to his home at Petrie's Bight, and he would get the black- 
smith there to make a tomahawk each for them. They 
agreed, and the whole party started off, with the recovered boat 
in tow. The wind was fair, and they landed before dark 
at Breakfast Creek. The three natives were told to come 
in the morning for their presents, which they did, and while 
standing near the blacksmith's shop waiting, a Mr. Williams 
appeared in the yard. As soon as the blacks saw him they 
took to their heels, and ran as fast as they could into the bush. 
This Mr. Williams was one of the party who went to Caboolture 
for cedar timber, and he recognised the three natives as those 
who had accompanied his companions into the scrub, murder- 
ing one of them. 

The next day Father went out to the aboriginal camp 
at Bowen Hills, and took with him the presents he had pro- 
mised the three natives. Arrived there these three came 
up to him, and when he had presented each with a tomahawk, 
he asked why they had run off the day before ? " Because," 
they answered, " the man who came into the yard was one 


who was in the boat at Caboolture when we killed the men 
there, and we thought he might catch us." They then told 
how it had all happened. They said they had no thoughts 
whatever of murder, until the white man got frightened 
and the gun went off, then, thinking they would be shot 
if nothing were done, they did not hestitate to act promptly. 

Another aboriginal murderer, known of as " Dundalli " — 
the native name for the wonga-wonga pigeon — hailed from 
Bribie Island. Like " Millbong Jemmy," he was said to 
have had a hand in the murder of Mr. Gregor and Mrs. Shan- 
non, and the sawyers at North Pine ; also Gray, on Bribie 
Island, and others. Father remembers when he was captured. 
A brickmaker named Massie engaged this man, and the darkie 
was cutting down a tree for him when surprised. The scene 
was somewhere in the present Wickham Street, Valley, 
between the site of the Byrnes statue and the Brunswick 
Street corner. The police had hidden near by, and a black- 
fellow (Wumbungur) of the Brisbane tribe was sent on to catch 
" DundaUi." The pair had a struggle, then the police 
appeared on the scene, and after a great deal of trouble 
secured him. 

" Dundalli '' was tried and sentenced to death, and the 
day he was hanged (5th January, 1855), my father was there 
in the crowd. The hanging took place where now the Post 
Office stands, and the Windmill (Observatory) Hill was simply 
lined with blacks, some coming from Bribie (" Ngunda " 
tribe), and others of the Brisbane tribe. When " Dundalh " 
got up on to the gallows he looked all round, and, seeing 
Father, appealed to him in his own tongue. Then he noticed 
the blacks up on the hill at the Windmill, and called to them 
(still in his own tongue), telling them that " Wumbungur " 
was the cause of his being taken, and so they must kill him. 
The cap was put over his head then, and the bolt was drawn, 
but owing to Green, the executioner, misjudging the length 
of rope according to the drop, the unfortunate man's 
feet came down upon the coffin beneath. Then as he bounded 
up into the air the coffin was taken away, and the executioner, 
catching him by the legs, bent and tied them upwards, 
and so hung to him till he died. It was indeed a horrible 


sight, and one that Father devoutly hoped he would never 
see again. 

" Dundalli " had a brother, " Ommuli " (which meant 
the breast), who was also a great murderer, and was connected 
with his brother in some of the same misdeeds. He was 
one of those for whom a reward was offered. A man called 
Isam, a native of the Isle of France, imdertook to catch him. 
This man was a prisoner in the early times, but had got 
a ticket-of-leave. He lived with the blacks at Amity Point 
(" Pul-an," the natives called Amity), and he had a boat, 
and used to catch fish and salt them for sale. He also caught 
turtle and dugong. Once a week he left his home at Amity 
and went to Brisbane to sell whatever he had, returning 
with rations. 

One night this man, with four or five of the Amity Point 
blacks and two or three constables, started off to where 
the natives had a camp — a little above the present Wickham 
Terrace Presb3H:erian Church — in quest of " OmmuU." At 
that time, of course, it was all wild bush round about. Isam 
took with him half-a-pint of rum and a tinpot to treat " Om- 
muli " to a drink, and one of the natives had a rope with a 
noose at the end. Coming near to the camp, the constables 
and most of the blacks waited hidden while Isam and two 
others went forwcird. They found " Onunuli " in his hut, 
and Isam sat down alongside him and commenced to talk 
to him, and brought out the nmi, while all the time the native 
with the rope hidden in his shirt stood ready watching. 
Seeing his opportunity at last as the pair talked away together, 
this man threw the rope over the unsuspecting blackfellow's 
head, cind then, getting it down over his arm, drew it tight, 
and with the assistance of the blacks, who rushed out at 
this moment from their hiding place, dragged " Ommuli " 
along the ground. 

An awful row began then ; the blacks of the camp threw 
spears and waddies at the others with their victim, and a 
•constable got speared through the arm. Still Isam and the 
Amity blacks would not give up " Ommuli," and they dragged 
him right down the hill, passing over the ground where the 
church is now, and on to cross over the creek that used to 


run up Creek Street. Pausing on the site of the present 
Gresham Hotel, they had a look at their victim, and found 
that his arm had come free of the noose, and the rope was 
tight round his neck. Of course, it goes without saying 
— the man was dead. So they took the body to the hospital, 
and that was the last of the unfortunate " Ommuli." 


The Black Man's Deterioration — Worthy Characters — " Dalaipi " — Recom- 
mending North Pine as a Place to Settle — The Birth of " Murrumba" — 
A Portion of Whiteside Station— Mrs. Griffen— The First White Man's 
Humpy at North Pine — Dalaipi's Good Qualities — A Chat with Him — 
His Death — With Mr. Pettigrew in Early Maryboro' —A Very Old 
Land-mark at North Pine — Proof of the Durability of Blood-wood 
Timber — The Word " Humpybong." 

iOST people speak and think of the aborigines 
as a lazy, dirty, useless, unreliable lot. But, 
as I have tried to show, it is unfair to pass 
judgment upon them because of what they 
appear to be now. They were not always so, and the 
white man is accountable for their deterioration. He 
taught them to drink and to smoke, and to feel that 
it was not worth calling up sufficient energy to make a 
canoe, a vessel for water, or evena hut to sleep in. As 
the natives got more and more into the ways of the 
white man, they would often lie huddled up in the rain, 
rather than trouble to make a hut • to cover them. And 
so they went down and down, travelling on the path 
which led to laziness, disease, and degradation. Poor 
souls If^^i'tfThey did not teach their children to do as 
they had done, and the children never really knew what the 
old life had been. How different a native was in those 
old times ! He was full of manly vigour and energy, his 
life) was a joy to him, and the search for his food one long 
pastime. It is useless to think that we can ever blot out 
the injury we have done by mission schools and unnatural 

To show that there were besides murderers really worthy 
characters among the aborigines, it may interest some readers 
to hear of]" Dalaipi," a fine old blackfellow my father knew. 
When the latter was a small boy he used to play with this 

/'':".'. ^y C. Z': /-\'f^uson.] 

•■ -MrKKTMBA. 

;j> Ml-/. 


man's son — a little chap called " Dal-ngang " — and " Dal- 
aipi" himself was then nearly sixty years of age. Later, 
when Father had been married some months, and had decided, 
upon the advice of Mr. Tiffin, the Government Architect, 
to take up land for cattle, he sought out " Dalaipi," and 
kf asked him if he knew of any country suitable for what he 
wanted. This old blackfellow was the head man of the North 
Pine tribe, and often came into Brisbane. He replied that there 
was plenty good " tar " (ground) at " Mandin " (fishing net) 
— ^the North Pine River railway bridge crossing. MTien 
Father agreed to go and look at it, " Dalaipi " was greatly 
pleased at the idea of him settling there, and said, " You 
take my son, " Dal-ngang," with you, he will show you over 
my country, for he can ride, and any you pick on I will 
give you. I would go, but cannot ride — ^would tumble off. 
When you make up yovu: mind to settle, I will go with you, 
and protect you and your cattle, or any one belonging to 

So my father, a young man of about twenty-eight, journeyed 
forth with " Dal-ngang " to look at the place which was 
really to become his future home, though he did not know 
it. There he was to live for the rest of his lifetime, and form 
the now well-known homestead, " Murrumba." This name, 
by the way, is the blackfellows' word for " good." 

The two horsemen — the black man and the white — camped 
for the first night just where the latter's milking-shed now 
stands, and Father was greatly taken with the country, 
which, in those days, looked so nice and green and open, 
and was covered with beautiful kangaroo grass, a couple 
of feet high. The yoimg fellow thought to himself what a 
pity it was he could not take it up ; he knew it to be a portion 
of the Whiteside run. " Dal-ngang " said to him, " You 
take this fellow groimd, belong to my father ? " and he 
was not at all reconciled to the fact when told that it already 
belonged to Mrs. Griffen (Captain Griffen's widow). 

After looking at North Pine, Father and " Dal-ngang " 
went on to the mouth of the Pine River, and then round 
to Himipybong and Deception Bay. From there they went 
to Caboolture, and always as they travelled they examined 


the country for miles round about. At the end of four days 
they found themselves on the " Old Northern Road," home- 
ward bound, my father with his mind made up to obtain 
a map of the country, so that he could see which portions 
were still open to choose from. However, arriving at the 
North Pine upper crossing (Sideling Creek), they met a bullock 
dray loaded with cedar, making down the river towards 
the salt water, whence the timber was to be rafted to Brisbane, 
and who should be riding alongside the team that his man 
was driving but John Griffen, with a horse pistol on either 
side of the pommel of the saddle, and a carbine hanging at 
his side. As soon as he saw Father he called to him, " Hullo, 
Petrie, where the devil are you going ? " "I am looking 
for a nice piece of country on which to put some cattle. 
Can you put me on to anything ? " " Yes, go down towards 
the mouth of the Pine." " But that belongs to your mother." 
" The old lady will be only too pleased to give it to you. 
We can't keep a beast down there for the blacks, they run 
them into the swamps and spear them, then have great feasts. 
If any of us go down in that direction, we have always to 
be on our guard — that is the reason I am armed hke this 
(touching his weapons). You never know when those black 
wretches may appear and tackle you. You had better go 
back to the station, Petrie, and see mother. I know you 
will get the land all right." 

My father, after some conversation, turned and went to 
Mrs. Griffen's station, where the old lady met him heartily, 
and asked him in for the night. When he told her what he 
had come for, she said she would be only too pleased to let 
him have that portion of her run ; it was of no use to them ; 
it was unsafe for any one to go down there, and they could 
do nothing with the cattle on account of the blacks. " Yes, 
you can have it certainly, but," she added, " would it be wise 
for a young man like you to settle in such a place — would 
it be safe ? " Fancy " Tom Petrie " being afraid of the 
natives ! " Mrs. Griffen," he answered, if you cire willing 
that I should take over the land, I shall not be afraid to settle 
there, as I can speak to the blacks in their own tongue, 
and know their ways, and will be all right." "Very well," 



she said, " I will go to town with you to-morrow, and make 
arrangements that you get the land." 

So it came about that the lawyer transferred ten sections 
over to my father, and the latter had ten square miles in his 
name. His boundary was from Sideling Creek down the 
coast right round to Humpybong. 

And now to return to " Dalaipi." When everything had 
been finally settled, my father started from Brisbane in a 
boat to go to North Pine with rations, taking with him 
" Dalaipi," " Dal-ngang," and four other blacks. When they 
got to the mouth of Brisbane River, a fair wind was blow- 
ing towards St. Helena, and the natives suggested that the 
party should run across to the island and camp there for the 
night — they looked forward to a feast of dugong. To this 
my father agreed. At that time St. Helena was nearly all 
scrub, and some white men were Uving there who caught 
dugong and boiled them down for the oil for Dr. Hobbs. 
As luck had it, when the boat landed a large creature had 
just been caught, so the darkies had a great feast, and Father 
also enjoyed some of the meat. Next day, on their departure, 
the men of the island gave them a quantity of flesh, so the 
blacks were in great glee, as dugong was a favoured dish, 
and this meant a supply for several days. The wind, again 
favourable, took the party to the Pine, up which they travelled 
as far as Yebri Creek, and camped there. 

Next day my father looked about for a suitable place 
in which to build a humpy, and picked upon almost the spot 
where his barn stands now near the N.C. Railway line. With 
the help of the blacks he cleared a couple of acres, and then 
teaching them to split slabs, and posts, and rails, he got a 
hut and stockyard built. 

Whenever he had occasion after this to go for a few days 
to Brisbane, he found on his return that everything was all 
right, just as already related. The man who took charge 
of the humpy was " Dalaipi," and the two young blacks 
mentioned, who watched the cattle, were lads of about 
seventeen, one being " Dal-ngang," and the other, " Dippari," 
a brother of " Dick Ben." (" Dick Ben " was one of those 
concerned in the murder of Mr. Gregor and Mrs. Shannon). 


These two young fellows were very useful ; their master 
taught them to do all sorts of things about his place, and 
they were bright and quick at learning, and could do their 
work as well as any white man. Later on, when he had a 
house built to which his wife could come, these boys took 
turn about in travelling to Brisbane with a pack-horse every 
week, taking in little fresh things from the country to Mr. 
Petrie, senior, and returning with supplies for the station. 
And nothing ever went wrong. 

" ' Dalaipi ' was," my father says, " a faithful and good old 
black to me. He was a great old fisherman, and used to keed 
us supplied with fish, crabs, and oysters, and in the season 
when turkey eggs were found in the scrub on the Pine brought 
these as an offering. He was the only blackfellow I knew 
who neither smoked nor drank." 

" Dcdaipi " was not an extra tall blackfellow, but was 
good and very reverent looking, and carried himself with 
an air as though he were some one of importance, as, indeed 
he was, for his word was law among the tribe, and he was 
looked up to by every one. He and his son, " Dal-ngang," 
were very gentle and courteous, and never seemed to join 
in with a rough joke. " Dalaipi's " wife also was a tall 
splendid-looking woman, with the carriage of a queen. She 
it was who used to follow my mother on her walks abroad 
for fear harm should come to the white lady. When the 
latter had gone far enough, or with her child had approached 
some sacred burial place, the gin would quicken her pace 
and say, " Come back now, missus," in a beseeching sort of 
voice, which my mother is afraid she did not always pay 
heed to. 

My father has had many a yarn with poor old " Dalaipi " 
on the subject of the murders committed by the blacks, 
and this man told his white friend much the same as the 
murderers did themselves. " Before the whitefeUow came," 
" Dalaipi " said, " we wore no dress, but knew no shame, 
and were all free and happy ; there was plenty to eat, and 
it was a pleasure to hunt for food. Then when the white 
man came among us, we were hunted from om: ground, shot, 
poisoned, and had our daughters, sisters, and wives taken 


from us. Could you blame us if we killed the white man ? 
If we had done likewise to them, would they not have murdered 

" But," my father said, " the blackfellows killed poor 
whites who never did them any harm." 

" That is nothing. If a man of one tribe killed someone 
of a second tribe, the first person in the former that the others 
came across was killed for revenge. That is our law. And, 
besides, look what a lot of blacks who did no harm were shot 
by the native police! And what a number were poisoned 
at Kilcoy ! Another thing the white man did was to teach 
us to drink, smoke, swear, and steal." 

" They did not teach you to steal." 

" Yes, they did. They stole our ground where we used 
to get food, and when we got hungry and took a bit of flour 
or killed a bullock to eat, they shot us or poisoned us. All 
they give us now for our land is a blanket once a year." 

" But, ' Dalaipi,' did not the white men settle the mission- 
aries at Nundah to make you better, and teach you not to 
kiU, steal, or tell lies ? Did they not show you how to 
work for them, and so earn a living ? " 

" Yes, the missionaries were settled at Nundah, and what 
did we learn from them ? The young blacks got to know 
too much of the whites' ways and habits — too much of what 
was right and wrong. Before any white people came here, 
we never stole anything from one another, but divided 
everything we had, and were always happy." 

" But what about when you beat the poor gins and often 
killed them for a mere trifle ? And sometimes you sneak 
upon an unsuspecting blackfellow in another tribe, and kill 

"It is our law that a gin should be killed when she 
steps over anything belonging to us — or for other things. 
And if a man dies, or gets killed by fighting with one of his 
own tribe, we don't blame the man who seemed to kill him, 
but find out the real murderer by chopping the dead man's 
bones together, which always crack at the right name. You 
have seen that done many a time, and you know." 

" Yes, that's all right, ' Dalaipi.' " 


" The missionary and white -fellow tell us that if a black- 
fellow kill a white man they catch him and kill him by putting 
a rope round his nack ; and if a white man kill another white 
fellow, they do just the same. That is your law. Well, 
the blackfellow is different. We do not blame the man 
we see kiUing the other, but go by the cracking of the dead 
man's bones. And when we get a chance we do not put 
a rope round the murderer's neck, but kill him with a waddy, 
a spear, or a tomahawk. That is the difference, and we do 
not see any harm in kiUing that way. It was our law before 
the white fellow came among us to teach us all sorts of things. 
Why did not the white man stop in his own country, and not 
come here to hunt us about like a lot of kangaroo ? If they 
had kept to their own land, we would not have killed them." 
" No, that is true, 'Dalaipi ' ; but you see the white man 
likes to go and find new country, and bring bullocks and horses,, 
and grow potatoes and corn ; then you get plenty to eat." 
" No fear, they won't give us anything ; they are too greedy. 
They put corn and potatoes in our ground that they took 
from us at Eagle Farm a long time ago, to tempt us when 
we were hungry. There were several shot there stealing 
corn. You mind ' Dalantchin,' who was lame in one leg ? 
Well, he was shot in the hip with a ball while taking com ; 
that was what made him lame." 

" Well, you know that was not right. He was stealing 

" I don't see that. The white fellow stole the ground, 
and I don't see any harm in taking a few cobs of corn or a dilly- 
fuU of potatoes when one is hungry. We should not be shot 
like birds for it." 

" ' Dalaipi,' you see it one way, and the whites another, 
that's certain." 

" You say the white fellow don't tell lies. I know plenty 
who did. They would get the blacks to bring them fish, 
young parrots, and all sorts of things ; then, in place of 
giving them what was promised, they took the things, and, 
with ' Be off, you black devil ! ' gave them a hit on the side 
of the head. What do you call that but stealing ? That 
is the way a good many whites were killed. Let us see a white 


man to-day and speak to him, and then even though we do 
not see him again for a long, long time, we know him, and 
remember what he did." 

" Now, ' Dalaipi,' I see I cannot make you see the right 
from the wrong. Tell me how it is you never drink grog nor 
smoke ? " 

" When the blackfellow took to drinking rum — that you 
call it — they would go mad, and beat one another with 
waddies, and cut themselves with knives ; sometimes 
they would kill their friends in a quarrel. I knew if 
I took it I would go mad, too, so I would never 
touch it. They used to try me to take it, but I never 
would. I tried the tobacco, but it made me very sick, and 
I never would try it again." 

" ' Dalaipi,' how is it that the blacks never tried to kill 

" Because your mother and all your people were kind 
to us, and would always give us something to eat, and you 
were a small little boy growing up with the black boys, who 
used to go about your father's house. In those early days 
we were not allowed to go near the ' croppies ' (the native 
name for prisoners), but could always see you. You learned 
our tongue, our ways and secrets, and you never broke our 
laws nor ill-treated us, but were always kind. We would 
do anything for you, and looked on you as one of ourselves. 
If all the whites were like you there would not have been 
so many killed." 

In spite of conversations like this " Dalaipi " was not 
a man of many words. He would never speak much unless 
questioned. His English was broken, of course. He and his 
never became aggressive, nor troublesome in the way of asking 
for tobacco, etc., as some did. 

As I have said, " Dalaipi " was the head man of the North 
Pine tribe, which numbered about two hundred, and he 
was supposed to own the kippa ring there. He was looked 
on as the great rain-maker for his part of the country. At 
one time it was rather dry, and the waterholes were getting 
low, so my father said to him, " You make the rain come 
and fill the holes again, ' Dalaipi.' " He answered, " Byamby 


me makeim come." About two days after this it got very 
cloudy, and " Dalaipi " turned up and said, " Me go now 
and makeim rain come up." So taking his tomahawk 
with him, he went down to the river just above where the 
ballast pit is now, where there was a point of rock 
and a deep hole. Here the end of the rainbow with 
its spirit " taggan " was supposed to go down into the 
water. " Dalaipi " jumped in with his tomahawk, and 
went under, coming up again with a small cut on 
his head, which was bleeding. On his way back to 
the house his master met him, and asked how he had come 
by the cut. " Oh, I been feeling about for ' taggan,' 
and hit my head longa ' mudlo ' (stone)." 

That day a shower fell, which soon cleared off, however, 
so my father asked, " How is it you didn't make 
more rain, ' Ddaipi ' ? that not enough." The old fellow 
replied, " Oh, I only cuttem ' taggan ' half through ; byamby 
me go down and make plenty more come." So after this his 
master did not tease him again. 

At that time during summer thousands of flying foxes 
camped in the scrub on the Pine, and the blacks used to catch 
great numbers, almost living entirely on them now and then. 
Always in winter they disappeared, so one day my father 
asked " Dalaipi " where the foxes went in winter. " They 
go down," he said, " under the water, in that hole where 
the ' taggan ' stops, where me makeim rain. They stop there 
till the hot weather comes back, then they come up again 
and go longa ' kabban ' (scrub)." He firmly believed this, 
and so did aU the others. 

Poor old " Dalaipi " wished once to go for a change to 
" Tugulawa " (Bulimba) to be with some of his friends 
for a week or so. He came to his master and said, " You 
let me go, me not be long away ; I been telling the other 
blackfellows to mind you till I come back." But the 
poor old man never came back, he took a cold and 
died there. When the news reached the Pine of his death, 
there was great lamenting, and cutting of heads. He was 
well known all over the country. When my father went, 
as a boy, to the " bon-yi " feast (on the Blackall) with the 


blacks, he was introduced as belonging to " Dalaipi's" tribe. 
On another occasion he went with Mr. Pettigrew to Mary- 
borough, to look round the country and notice the timber. 
(Mr. Pettigrew wished to start a sawmill, and he knew if 
my father accompanied him he would be saved trouble 
with the blacks.) Two young blacks they took with them, 
" Dal-ngang and " Kerwalli " (meaning " spilt ") ; the latter 
was afterwards known as old King Sandy, and he died at 
Wynnum in 1900. 

In those days Maryborough consisted of only a few houses. 
Mr. Pettigrew and his companion walking along a road 
there, came in sight of two gins coming towards them, and 
my father remarked, " When they get within speaking distance 
I will have a bit of fun." So he called to them, " Yin, wanna 
yan man ? " (Where are you going ?). They jumped at this 
in great excitement, saying one to the other that here was a 
white man who could speak their tongue, so Father had a yarn 
with them. That night he, with Mr. Pettigrew, slept on board 
the steamer, and next morning the wharf was black with 
natives come to see the white man who could talk to 
them. Again he was introduced as belonging to " Dalaipi's " 
tribe, by the two blacks accompanying them, and " Dal-ngang" 
being " Dalaipi's " son was also made much of. The whole 
crowd volunteered to go with the white men and show them 
timber, but only one man and his wife were taken. 

The party went up the Susan River, and to Eraser Island, 
and Tin Can Bay, and they saw plenty of timber. Mr. 
Pettigrew afterwards started a sawmill at Maryborough. 

My father says he was never afraid that the blacks would 
do him harm, but, in those early days, felt he would far sooner 
trust them than most of the whites. " Duramboi," the man 
who lived so long with the blacks, said, when he heard my 
father was going out to settle in the bhsh, " You are a foolish 
young man to go ; as soon as you get some rations out the 
blacks will kill you for them. I know their ways, as I ought — 
having lived with them so long." " Oh well," was the answer, 
" if that happens, I won't be the first white man they've 
killed." Small comfort, one would think. He adds now. 


though, " In place of killing me they were very kind, and I 
am alive yet." 

In the year 1824, before Brisbane town had been founded, 
and in the days when Humpybong was Queensland's penal 
settlement, a party of men journeyed up the then unnamed 
and obscure North Pine River, and entering Yebri Creek 
(below the homestead, " Murrumba "), landed, and proceeded 
to make a camp. Having come from the only part of 
Queensland inhabited by white men — the penal settlement at 
Humpybong — they were, most probably, soldiers in charge 
of a gang of prisoners, and were evidently in search of 

On the south side of Yebri Creek, near a portion of it 
my father has since had spanned by a bridge, and in what 
is now known as his " Lower Paddock " — which latter is 
bounded on one side by the North Coast Railway hne — lay 
at that time a limb blown from a bloodwood tree. This 
limb must have been dead and dry, and so have lain on the 
ground some time, for the prisoners started to cut it up for 
firewood, some with a crosscut saw, and one with an 
axe. Hardly had they begun operations, however, when 
natives who had noticed their approach, and who probably 
looked upon everything in the vicinity as their especial 
property, stole upon the intruders, and succeeded in making 
off with an axe. Instead of waiting to reason out the case, 
the white men fired upon the blacks, shooting one unfortunate 
dead ; then made off to the boat, and started down the creek 
on their return to Humpybong. 

" Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood 
be shed." The natives, determining upon revenge, watched 
their opportunity, and, subsequently, killed two of the 
prisoners at Humpybong. 

Almost forty-five years ago, when my father first settled 
at North Pine, it was the honest old " Dalaipi " who showed 
his young master this fallen limb with its markings (a chip 
taken out by an axe, also a cut from a saw some two inches 
deep), and he it was also who related the story of its strong 
link with the past. Ten years ago, my father showed the limb 


to Mr. William Pettigrew, whose name is well known in 
Brisbane, and whose knowledge of timber makes interesting 
some remarks he writes in a late communication re that 
bloodwood limb. 

The marks of the axe and the crosscut saw were quite 
distinct when Mr. Pettigrew saw the limb and heard the story, 
and he now sends along a copy of some notes jotted down 
at the time : — 

" 29th December, 1893. — T. Petrie has a fence up thirty 
years. Posts of this (bloodwood) sound. Another fence up 
twenty-five years, sound. Rails, iron bark, replaced twice. 
Had been eaten by white ants. 

" A branch of a tree lying at Petrie's was cut into in 1824 or 
'25 by a party in a boat, when a black stole an axe, and was 
shot dead ; whites cleared out." 

Mr. Pettigrew adds that he saw the tree (standing) from 
which the branch had fallen, and he further remarks that the 
limb was evidently lying on the ground at the time the scars 
were made. " That limb," he says, " had lain on the ground 
for sixty-eight years (in 1893). What would be the age of 
the tree at 1824 or '25, when the limb was blown off ? People 
in West Australia have been boasting of some of their durable 
timbers, but I think the bloodwood will beat any they have 

At the present time (October, 1904), this interesting blood- 
wood limb is still in existence, and its wood is perfectly sound. 
Some few years ago, however, bush fires charred and dis- 
figured the surface of it, and there are now no distinguishing 
marks, save its unaltered position, it being too heavy to move. 
The parent tree also lies prone near by, having been burnt 
down, probably at the time the limb was disfigured. The tree, 
when the branch was blown from it, must have been a good 
size judging from the limb, which is no baby one. And, 
as I have said, the branch, when the prisoners started to cut 
into it, was then dead wood, so who knows what length of 
time prior to 1824 it lay on the ground ? 

The fences Mr. Pettigrew mentions are yet in existence, 
the posts still being sound. Some few of the latter have 


recently been taken up, and are as solid as the day they were 
put in, nearly forty-five years ago. 

The Brisbane blacks called the bloodwood tree, or Euca- 
lyptus corjmibosa, " buna." And the tree mentioned grew 
on clay subsoil — ^my father has a dam not far from where it 

In concluding this subject, I may say that the word " Yebri" 
was the natives' name for a portion of the creek under dis- 
cussion, and meant " put, or lay it down." My father gave 
this name to the authorities, and it has been generally accepted. 
With regard to the word " Humpybong," we are told that 
that was the name given to the deserted place at Redcliffe 
by the blacks. They called it " Umpi Bong," meaning 
" dead houses." Now " bong " was their word for dead, 
but " ngudur " (after tea tree bark) stood generally for a 
hut or house on the coast, hence, I am led to beUeve, as humpy 
is of Australian origin, that it is one of those words coined 
by the Australian white man and adopted by the blacks. 


A Trip in 1862 to Mooloolah and Maroochy— Tom Petrie the First White 
Man on Buderim Mountain— Also on Petrie's Creek— A'Specially Faith- 
ful Black — Tom Petrie and his " Big Arm"— Twenty-five Blacks 
Branded— King Sandy one of them— The Blacks Dislike to the Darkness 
—Crossing Maroochy Bar Under Difficulties— Wanangga " Willing" his 
Skin Away— Doomed— A Blackfellow's Grave Near " Murrumba." 

pN 1862 my father started from the North Pine 
River in a ship's longboat with about ten blacks 
(a few having their wives with them), to go to 
* Mooloolah and Maroochy, to look for cedar timber. 
Calling at Bribie Island on their way, more blacks were picked 
up, four being murderers of white men. One of these was 
" Billy Dingy," of whom I have spoken, and the other three 
were the natives who had attacked the two men at 
Caboolture, killing one and leaving the other for dead. 

Crossing to the mainland, some of the party walked along 
the beach, while the rest of the natives occupied the boat 
with my father ; they thus journeyed to Mooloolah. Arriving 
there, they camped for the night, and next morning made 
for Buderim Mountain, and, having climbed it, the blacks 
informed Father that he was the first white man who had 
ever set foot on the mountain. He had a good look lound 
through the scrub, escorted by the blacks, and saw forests of 
fine timber, then had the satisfaction of being the first 
to cut a cedar tree there. However, he saw that it would 
not be possible to get timber from the locality to the water 
without the assistance of a bullock team, as the Mooloolah 
River is some distance from the mountain, so he decided to 
leave it till a more convenient time. The party then started 
back to the boat at the river's mouth, and remained there all 
night, leaving next day for Maroochy. Maroochy Bar 
is a difficult one at times to cross, but they got in all right. 


shipping a little water. After landing and refreshing them- 
selves, they went up the river for some miles, turning at last 
up a creek on the left, which is now known as Petrie's Creek, 
as my father was the first white visitor there. 

Continuing on their way some distance, they came upon a 
large gathering of blacks, and this was the gathering I have 
spoken about, when some natives from the interior were 
so amazed at the sight of a boat. Among the blacks (twenty- 
five) who accompanied my father to cut cedar was a man 
from the Pine called " Wanangga," which meant in English 
" Left it." He was also called Jimmy. He was a specially 
faithful black, and was Father's right-hand man in everything. 
He had great talks with the natives assembled, telling them all 
sorts of wonderful things about the white man, whom, he said, 
was a " turrwan." In his dealings with the blacks, my father 
was always looked up to as a " turrwan," or great man. 
As I have stated, he first got the honour when a boy. So 
" Wanangga " only told these strangers of what he himself 
believed. He spoke of the white man's power of killing, 
etc., and declared that he had taken many a stone from a 
blackfellow's body, and so made the sick one well. They 
believed everything, did these simple-minded people, and he 
was allowed to sleep in peace that rfight in the boat with 
" Wanangga," while the rest of the party camped ashore. 
Next morning he was interested in the corrobborees, etc., 
which, by the way, were very different to what one sees 
nowadays, when the blacks perform for the amusement of 
onlookers, for they will do anything now just to please the 
white man. 

When my father went off that day with his party of blacks 
to cut cedar, he left " Wanangga " to keep an eye on the boat, 
and to cook some salt beef and make a damper, so that 
all would be ready on his return. This blackfellow always 
did the cooking. A damper, I may mention for the informa- 
tion of those who have not lived in the bush, is made from flour 
mixed with water and a little salt, into the shape of a round 
cake, which is then put into hot ashes, well covered up, 
and left till cooked. If made properly it is quite eatable, 
even nice, but it is difficult for inexperienced people to make 


it. properly. My father used to bake very good ones for us 
when we were children, just to show what he had often to eat 
in those early times. Nowadays soda is used, and simplifies 

Going into the scrub, where there were lots of cedar trees, 
my father had some cut down near the bank of the creek, 
so that they could easily be rolled into the water. Then, 
returning early in the evening to camp, he found that the 
strange blacks there were about to move off two or three 
miles down the creek to hold another corrobboree. They 
wanted his men to accompany them, and these latter wished 
to do so, too, asking if all hands could not just go and take the 
boat. Father replied that they could go, but he and " Wan- 
angga " would remain where they were with the boat, as it 
was too far to come back to work in the morning. This the 
men declared would not be safe — ^it would not do ; the strange 
blacks would be sure to kill the two camping alone, and they 
did not want that. He answered they would be all right, 
he was not afraid to stay with " Wanangga," and he told 
them to go, and come back in the morning. Still they said 
they did not like it, and they persisted in their objections, 
though evidently wishing to go themselves. 

At last in desperation my father got up, and said he would 
show he wasn't afraid, and off he went into camp among them 
all, where he picked up a waddie and shield, and declared 
in the blacks' language that he would fight everyone of them, 
one at a time if only they came to him face to face, and not 
behind his back. They looked at him, and some laughed, 
and one man remarked, " I would not like a hit from him, 
he has got too big arm." After that no more was said, 
and " Wanangga " and his master had their way, the rest 
returning again in the morning quite ready for their work. 

These twenty-five blacks, with their white leader, moved 
further up the creek that day, and made a permanent camp, 
where they stayed about a fortnight cutting cedar. The 
blacks made their huts in a half-circle round the front of 
Father's, so that they might be a protection to him. On 
Sundays they would hunt or rested, and yarned away the 
time, as they weren't required to work. 


One Sunday the blacks got talking of getting branded 
as the cedar logs were, with a @, so that it would 
be known to whom they belonged. Their white friend 
heard the remarks passed — one thought it would be 
too sore to be branded like a bullock, and another 
reckoned it best to get the (P) cut on their arms, 
and in the end this idea was carried. So going up to their 
master they said to him, " We want you to cut a mark like 
that on the logs, on our arms ; so that when we go to Brisbane, 
every one will know we belong to you." Father said no, 
that he would just mark the brand, and they could do the 
cutting themselves ; but this did not please them, and he 
had perforce to fall in with their suggestions. 

He started to draw the brand on the arm on one fellow 
with a small sharp-pointed stick like a pencil, and this left 
a white mark on the dark skin. They then gave him a pre- 
pared piece of glass, and he commenced to cut with this, 
but as the blood came, he felt turned, and his hand shook. 
However, they asked him to cut deeper, so after one was 
finished, he didn't care any more, but went ahead and did the 
whole twenty-five of them. They were deUghted, and as 
proud as possible ; and went off and got some of the outer 
bark-chips from a bloodwood sapling, which they burned in the 
fire, and then rubbing the burnt part up in their hands, it 
became a fine powder called " kurrun," which they rubbed 
into the brand. (This is how charcoal was prepared for 
wounds.) In a week their arms were healed, and the brand 
had risen up showing a splendid @, 

The last of these twenty-five blacks (King Sandy) died 
at Wyimum (" Winnam," meaning bread-fruit) in May, 1900. 
A little before his death the writer got him to show her his 
arm, and the mark was still there, and he proud of it even 

Father frequently visited the locality again in quest of 
cedar timber. Mr. Pettigrew's steamer conveyed the timber 
to Brisbane. The blacks worked splendidly. They did 
all the work in making the roadway and getting the logs 
into the water. Sometimes while rolling a log along they 
would just roar with laughter. As my father chaffed them 


:iR NlXlil NINIW I'KIHE). 

t To /'aci p. 10-/. 


now and again, they were quite happy at work, and worked hke 
tigers. He says they could never be persuaded to do any 
good by bouncing, but were almost like a lot of children — they 
needed to be coaxed and considered. They would get very 
hot at times, and then a jump into the river refreshed them, 
and on they went again. 

One night my father remembers having a laugh. He 
was resting while the blacks were " jabbering " away among 
themselves, when he began to feel mischievous, so flicked 
an oak cone into their midst. There was silence instantly, 
and they listened intently. Of course, the white man " laid 
low " until their suspicions were quietened, then repeated 
his trick. They were positive this time something was 
wrong, and jumped up, catching hold of him and wakening 
him as they thought, saying there were strange blacks — 
enemies — at hand. After that some of them sat up all night 
watching, for they are very suspicious in that way. In 
the morning, he told them what he had done, and they 
good-naturedly burst out laughing. 

In travelling to and fro Father always left some of the natives 
at Bribie Island on the homeward trip, till he returned to pick 
them up again, for they were afraid to go to Brisbane or the 
Pine because of having been connected with several murder^. 
The blacks he took right on, he always allowed to go to 
Brisbane for a day or two, giving each some few shillings 
to spend there, and also a suit of clothes. They used td 
make more coins by exhibiting their brands — some one 
would give them a penny, and others perhaps a sixpence — 
and so they went back to their master quite delighted and 
proud of themselves. To please the natives left on the island 
he took back presents to them. 

As an instance of how the blacks disliked being disturbed at 
night, my father tells me that when up on Petrie's Creek, 
getting cedar timber with his twenty-five natives, one day he 
told them that that night he would call them when the tide 
was full, in order to move a raft which had got stuck on a bank. 
When the time came it was very cold ; he called, but in vain ; 
they were all deaf apparently, and lay still like logs. So 
after a time he gave up trying to make deaf creatures hear. 


and, saying he would go off alone and do it himself, got 
hold of a firestick, and off he walked. He hadn't gone far, 
however, when, looking back, he saw dark forms coming, 
all armed with firesficks. When they found he really would 
go alone, they went to his help, putting aside their dislike 
of the dark and the cold. They were awfully good to my 
father always, and stuck like leeches to him. 

On another occasion, while still on Petrie's Creek, having 
been there for some time, he had run out of provisions, and 
the blacks, thinking he would suffer through hving just on 
fish and what they could bring him, urged him to leave and 
get some of his own food. However, he had a raft he wished 
to get down the river first, and nothing they said moved him. 
Seeing he was determined to do as he said, they turned to 
and worked their hardest, working, too, with that generous 
and ungrudging spirit one does not always come across. 

On yet another occasion, when about to return to the Pine, 
the mouth of the Maroochy River was reached, but the sea 
was so rough and the breakers were running so high that it 
was impossible to cross the bar ; so the party were forced 
to wait over a week till the sea went down. Meanwhile 
they lived on fish and oysters, as the rations had run out, 
but that was no hardship to my father. He enjoyed his 
meals as much as any of them. The natives always carried 
three or four hand-nets for catching fish, as well as their 

After the sea had abated somewhat, my father, who had 
waited long enough, started to cross the bar, but the first 
breaker struck the boat, and turned her broadside on, half- 
filling her with water, and breaking the rudder. However, 
they managed to right her before the next breaker struck, 
and getting back to smooth water, retired to the shore to 
bail out and fix up. While in danger some of the blacks 
called out for their mother, and some began spitting at the 
waves, for it was a superstition of theirs that to spit on waves 
when the water was rough would still the sea. 

Father rigged up a steer oar, and again they started, 
the natives calling out to turn back, when the breakers 
faced them, but their leader said to stick to it, and they would 


get through all right, and he kept the boat's head straight 
to the waves. Then, as a breaker struck, the native at the 
bow oar was thrown nearly on top of the white man, who sang 
out to him to take the stroke oar, and all hands to pull with 
all their might. 

When all danger was passed and smooth water gained, 
the blacks simply yelled with laughter, mimicking each 
other in the frightened way they had called out, also my 
father how he stood with the steer oar in his hand, and the 
spray dashing up in his face. In writing of corrobborees, 
I mentioned that the blacks once composed one about my 
father, and this was the incident then alluded to. 

After bailing out the water the party put up the sail, 
and with a fair wind steered for Caloundra Heads, which 
they reached safely, and crossed that bar all right, camping 
for the night in Bribie Passage. Father says they had a grand 
supper of oysters, crabs, and fish, which made up for everything, 
for he had nothing to do but eat while they roasted and 
brought the food to him. Next day they left for home. 

A few days after this return from Maroochy and Mooloolah, 
my father's faithful blackfellow, Jimmy (" Wanangga "), 
complained of his throat being very bad. He had spoken 
of it some time before, and his master had doctored him, 
thinking though, that there was nothing more serious than 
a cold. However, this day the man called his master into 
the outside kitchen, where he always slept before the fire, 
evidently having something on his mind he wished to speak 
of. Father went to him. " Well, Jimmy," he said, " what 
is the matter ? " 

" I want you to get another blackfellow to go with you 
and look after you, as I won't be able to do so any more. 
My throat is worse, and I shall die in three days." (This all 
in his own tongue.) 

" Nonsense, Jimmy," was the reply, " does not my medicine 
do your throat good ? " 

" No, master," answered the poor soul. " You ask me 
several times if I could not get you a blackfellow's skin ; 
well, when I die in three days, you get the blacks to skin 
me, and you keep my skin ; if you don't want it, don't let 


them eat me, but make a hole and bury me ; then when my 
sister comes, show her my grave, and she can get my bones 
to carry about." 

Father said he would do as was requested. " But," he 
said, " you are not going to die yet, you will be all right 
before we start again." 

However, the third day in the evening Jimmy asked if 
he could go to the camp ; he would like to sleep there, he 
said, with his companions that night. Father answered, 
of course he could, never dreaming that the poor fellow's 
death was really near, and expecting to see him again in the 
morning. The camp was some three hundred yards from 
the Petries' garden, and when the master visited it the first 
thing next morning he was greatly surprised to find that 
" Wanangga " had died two hours earlier. There the others 
were all crying over his body, so Father got them to dig 
a grave in a quiet place, and " Wanangga " was laid to rest. 
His body was rolled up in tea-tree bark, tied round with 
wattle bark string, the feet being left exposed, and so, crying 
all the time, they carried him to the grave. There they 
put a sheet of bark in the bottom of the hole, and another 
on top of the body — to keep the earth off, they said — and 
the grave was filled in. 

As I have shown, the natives about here never buried 
their dead in the ground, but if not eaten would place them 
up on trees. So this burial of " Wanangga " was unusual. 
The other blacks wished to eat him, as he was in good order, 
but my father would not hear of this ; he told them the poor 
fellow had wished to be buried, and buried he must be. 
So there he lay, till his sister came to dig up his bones. 

Often, my father says, a blackfellow died in this fashion ; 
the idea would possess him that he was " doomed," and then 
nothing could save him — he made no effort, but would just 
sulk and die. 

" Wanangga " was a faithful blackfellow, and a very useful 
one ; he couHi split and fence as well as any white man, 
and could turn his hand to almost anything. He was the 
especial one who always stuck to my father when no white 
man would go near him, being all so afraid of the blacks. 


So poor Jimmy was missed when they journeyed back to 
Maroochy, but his name was never mentioned among the 
others. It was " dimmanggali " — that is, " sacred to the 
dead." The blacks never ever refer to the dead, in their 
wild state. You could hardly do anything worse, in the old 
days, than mention a dead man's name — they would be 
more likely to kill you for that than for anything. If, as 
on rare occasions (for they had a great variety to choose from), 
another person bore the same name as the dead man, it was 
changed at once to " dimmanggali." In later years, when 
the white people's names began to be used, a blackfellow's 
called " Tom " died, and so my father was dubbed " dim- 

About four months after Jimmy's death his sister came 
to inquire where his resting place was. She had three or four 
old gins with her, and they opened up the grave and took 
out the bones, separating them from each other. Then, 
making a great fire, they burnt everything with the exception 
of those bones which were always kept and cleaned. These 
they put into a dillybag and carried to within fifty yards of 
where the other blacks were camped, waiting, and sitting 
down on the ground, the others aU gathered round in a circle, 
and the ceremony already described took place. The sister 
then put the bones carefully back into the dilly, and they all 
started off to the camp, crying as they went along. They 
said to their white friend, " You see now who caused his 
death, and you shoot him when you come across him." 
For months the sister carried these bones about wherever 
she went, and they were cried over every night and morning. 
In the end she put them in a hollow tree, hanging out of 
sight in the dilly on a forked stick, and there they were left 
for good. My father never heard whether the particular 
blackfellow who was blamed for killing " Wanangga " was 
done to death or not, but he knew of many cases where an 
unfortunate was murdered when he probably knew nothing 
whatever of the death he was blamed for. 

Any one walking below the " Murrumba " orchard even 
now could, if they cared to be sentimental, drop a tear of 
sympathy on the exact spot where " Wanangga' s " body 


once lay. However, the hole is gradually filling up. As a 
child the writer used to wonder why a blackfellow had just 
a big, open hole for a grave, not realising that it had been 
opened up for the sake of the bones. 


**Puram," the Rain-maker—" Governor Banjo" — His Good Nature — A Ride 
for Gold with Banjo — Acting a Monkey — Dressed Up and Sent a MesT 
sage — Banjo and the Hose — " Missus Cranky " — Banjo's Family — His 
Kindness to Them — An Escape from Poisoning — Banjo's Brass Plate. 

«*^^^^^=W0 old blackfellows, great friends and both 
iW|^^M characters in their way ("Puram" and " Karal "), 
J^^^^^ who belonged to the country up round the 
Maroochy River, my father knew very well. 
" Puram " was considered the great rain-maker for that 
part of the country he came from (the Maroochy district). 
He had but one eye, having lost the other by rolling into 
the fire when a baby, and he also had lost half a foot through 
a tiger-shark, while fishing. In spite of his deformity, he 
was very active, and my father has often seen him climb 
a " bon-yi " tree with a vine, going up it as well as any of 
the others. " Puram " often accompanied my father on 
his trips for cedar to Petrie's Creek, though not one of the 
" brand brigade." 

At one time, when my father had gone to the Pine to settle, 
and " Puram " was there, it seemed setting in for wet weather, 
so the old man, of course, proceeded to bring the rain. He 
commenced by spitting up into the air, and making signs ; 
then he pulled the " kundri " stone from his mouth, chanting 
words which had this meaning, " Come down, rain, and make 
the ' bon-yi ' trees grow, so that we shall get plenty nuts, 
and make the yams to grow big, that we may eat them." 
It did happen to rain for about four days after this ; in fact, 
too much came, so Father asked " Puram " to make it stop. 
" Oh, byamby," he said. So the cunning old chap waited 
till he saw a break in the sky, then started throwing firesticks 
up into the air, to dry up the rain, he said, and then making 
a great row in his throat, he showed his " kundri " stone 
to the others, who stood round, with admiration on their 


faces. Then the old chap walked up to his master, and said, 
" Now, you see, me bin makim altogether dry with fire — 
no more come." It cleared up, and fine weather came, 
and the others really relieved that it was aU " Puram's " 
doing. They thought he could bring rain, or send it away 
as he liked. And he himself evidently believed in his own 

There was a cattle station at Nindery Mountain, on the 
Maroochy River, and some time after my father gave up going 
to that district for cedar the blacks told him that poor old 
" Puram " had been shot by one of the station hands there. 
It jSeemed that he and another blackfellow.were in a canoe 
on the Maroochy River harmlessly getting cobra — " kambo " 
the blacks there called it — ^when a shot was fired, and 
" Puram " fell dead. The other blackfellow got away, 
and told the tale. 

"Puram's" mate, " Karal," seemed to be a good age 
even, when my father remembers him first. He was half silly, 
and very comical in his ways. He could not speak a word of 
Enghsh properly, and therefore caused many a bit of fun and 
a good laugh. Father was the first to take him into Brisbane. 
This was on the journey from Bribie to Brisbane after the 
trip there in search of a lost boat, and after the murder at 
Caboolture at Dead Man's Pocket. My father remembers his 
father standing at the back door when he came up with 
" Karal," and introduced him as coming from Nindery. 
Grandfather, who was blind at that time, felt the blackfellow 
all over with his stick, and then said, " I christen you Gover- 
nor Banjur, of Nindery." " Banjur " was a class name of 
the Turrbal tribe. It meant a man above a working man 
— a great man, in fact, though not so great as " Turrwan." 
This name fell into " Banjo," and so the man was known 
till his death. 

Governor Banjo used to stay with the Petries, sometimes 
sleeping in the kitchen before the fire. They got him a brass 
plate made, with " Governor Banjo of Nindery " cut into it, 
and this he wore hung round his neck by a chain, and mighty 
proud he was of it, too. 


My father and his brothers and sister used to try and 
teach Banjo to say fresh words, but he never could get his 
tongue round them. Many a laugh these young people 
had over this, for he was a good-natured sort of a fellow, 
and always made the required attempt. One day " Tom " 
got hold of a Jack-in-the-box, and taking it to Bsmjo said, 
" Here, Governor, you open this fellow." The poor soul 
took the box, and touching the spring the lid, of course, 
flew open, and a little soldier jumped up. Banjo dropped 
the box like a hot potato, and with a yell ran off into the 
bush without even waiting to look round, so scared was he. 
They did not see him again till next day, when he came 
up to Father shaking his fist at him, and then putting his 
hands together, said, " My word, Jack Nittery — ^hanker 
— pohcemen " — meaning that my father's big brother, John, 
would get a policeman to handcuff " Tom " for frightening 
him. Then he held up his brass plate as much as to say 
he was too big a man to be insulted, and walked off with a 
great air. He carried himself in a very upright manner, 
this old blackfellow, and walked along very smartly. 

Another time Father gave his sister a little red toy man 
to put in the cupboard beside the plate Banjo used for his 
dinner. The poor chap, opening the cupboard door, saw 
the red man, and made off as hard as ever he could go, in a 
great fright. They got him to come back again, however, 
afterwards. " My word ! " was a great expression with 
Banjo, and " hanker " he always used for handcuffs. The 
latter had gained a firm hold on his mind, because one day the 
soldiers had pounced upon him in mistake for another black- 
fellow, and handcuffing him, led him off to the lock-up. 
Passing the Petries' house on the Bight, the poor old man 
cried out for help — " Jack Nittery, come on — poor fellow 
Governor Banjo ! " " Jack Nittery " (Petrie) did come on, 
and got him off, explaining he was just a harmless old creature 
— ^it was a mistake. 

Banjo never forgot the handcuffs, and whenever anyone 
displeased him he always threatened — " policeman — ^hanker." 
But though he seemed to be in a great " scot " for a few minutes, 
it was all over immediately, a more harmless creature one 


could find nowhere. He was also most kind-hearted, and had 
very often to be watched when given his meals, for he would 
just take a mouthful, and then carry the rest out to the 
other blacks and gins about the place. He always kept 
very thin, and probably this was the reason, for no matter 
if he went hungry himslf, he would give food to others he 
thought wanted it. 

In spite of his simple nature Banjo was a grand worker. 
He often accompanied my father, when the latter went as a 
boy to the scrubs to find the different timbers, and cut roads 
to the river, as an outlet for it. There used to be a very dense 
scrub at Toowong just where the road turns to go up to 
the cemetery, and also all along the river to Milton. A 
lot of pines and yellow-wood timber grew there. Banjo 
and two or three other blacks were useful in finding out this 
timber, and helping to cut the roads, and afterwards men came 
with bullock teams to do the rest. 

My father, as a young feUow, went to several goldfields 
discovered at the time, which caused excitement. On his 
return from Bendigo, he showed the blacks pieces of quartz 
stone containing specks of gold, and asked them to have 
a look about the Blackall Ranges when there next, and tell 
him if they found anything similar. This was long before 
the finding of Gympie. One day old Governor, who had been 
away at the Blackall, came in great excitement, and said, 
" My word ! me bin find big fellow stone, longa yinnell 
(creek or guUy) — ^plenty sit down." So Father said not to 
tell any one ; that if it was all right he would give him money 
and plenty tobacco. The old fellow seemed pleased, and 
the two got horses and some rations and started out without 
telUng anyone where they were going. Poor old Governor 
had never been on a horse in his life before, and it was some 
trouble to get him on, but at last he got fixed up, and off 
the pair went, quite pleased with themselves. 

" I gave Governor a switch with which to make his old 
horse keep up with mine," Father says, " and when he would 
be a little behind, I would call to him, ' Now, hit your horse, 
and make him keep up.' So Governor would give the horse 
a hit on the flank, and when the animal commenced to trot 


he would let go the reins and hold on to the mane like ' grim 
death,' bumping up and down about a foot from the saddle, 
calling all the time for me to stop the horse, that he would 
sooner walk the whole way. Whenever the animal got up 
to its companion it stopped of its own accord, but it was 
not so easy for me to stop laughing ; sometimes I would nearly 
tumble off my horse at the picture the old man made, and then 
he would jerk out to me, ' My word — Brisbane — policeman — 
hanker — Mese Nittery.' Meaning that when he got back 
to Brisbane, he would tell Mr. Petrie to get a policeman 
to put handcuffs on me for laughing at him. Then I would 
make it all right with the old chap." 

Banjo, the first night they camped, felt very much bruised, 
and the next morning was very stiff, but after the second 
day he got on better. He used to put each stirrup-iron 
in between his big and second toes, and hold it so in the same 
way the natives held a vine when climbing. 

In this fashion the two at length came to a little dry creek 
off the South branch of the Maroochy, and here Banjo had 
nicely covered up with bushes a fine reef of quartz full of 
iron pyrites, something the colour of gold. 

" You see, the old man did not invent anything ; if it 
had been gold I would have been all right," says Father. 

When the travellers returned to Brisbane the blacks, 
who were just as fond of getting fun from Banjo as anyone 
else, asked the old man how he managed to get on to the horse 
and how he rode it. Governor, to show them, got a long 
stick, and with a switch in his right hand, held an end of 
the stick with the other, and then with a jump threw his 
right leg over and made off, galloping along, up and down, 
beating the imaginary horse, the blacks and gins rolling on 
the ground with laughter. As he galloped back to them 
he would stop and say, " My word. Governor no gamin." 

The natives used to get Banjo to do aU sorts of queer 
things to amuse them, and they used to enjoy seeing him 
try and read a book or newspaper. More often than not 
he held whatever it was upside down, and then would quote 
with quite a grave face, " Itishin, Governor, plour, 'bacco, 
tea, sugar, planket, shirt, waiscoin, trouser, pipperoun (half- 


a-crown). Chook here (look here). My word, no gammon 

At times Governor Banjo's good nature was taken advantage 
of by an outsider, but generally it was all pure fun, for no 
one, of course, cared to really hurt the poor old man. He 
was a source of amusement to all. The head of the 
Petrie family would quietly laugh to himself when he 
heard his only daughter at her tricks with Banjo ; 
and his employees, during the dinner hour, had many 
a bit of fun with him. The Petrie household at 
this time boasted a httle pet monkey, and this creature 
once or twice got up on to Banjo's head, and the poor man 
was in an agony of fear lest his face should be torn. There 
he stood as stUl as a mouse, while the monkey ran its hands 
over his hair. Poor Banjo ! He dare not make a movement 
lest something dreadful should happen. 

This monkey evidently interested Governor Banjo. One 
day he took a strange fancy. Going to Miss Petrie he made 
her understand that he wished to be tied up as the monkey 
was. Soj she, nothing loath, when a piece of fun was in view, 
entered into the spirit of the thing, and tying a rope round 
Banjo's waist, fastened him to the leg of a kitchen table. 
There she placed a jar of water at his side, and just as he 
went down on all fours to creep about the floor, mightily pleased 
and proud of nimself , a man coming along with a message 
looked in at the doorway to deUver it. He got quite a start, 
so quickly did Banjo jump round and open his mouth, as 
he had seen Miss Monkey do. The man's surprise changed 
to mirth then, and — " Well, Miss Petrie," he said, when he 
could speak, " I never have met any one like you for tricks. 
I wonder whatever you will be thinking of next ! " 

Some years after all this, when both my father and his 
sister were married, and Grandfather was dead. Governor 
Banjo, as active as ever, divided his time outstaying at each 
place in turn. He was a good hand at chopping wood, and 
made himself useful to Mrs. Robert Ferguson (Miss Petrie), 
John Petrie at the old place, and "Tom" out at North Pine. 
With the latter he took " Dalaipi's " place, when that good 
old man had died. Although old. Banjo was very active in 


his movements, and it was wonderful how quickly he could 
climb a tree with a vine. He always went to the " bon-yi " 
leasts, and on his return would generally present Father 
with a dilly of nuts. 

Poor old Banjo ! Surely he was missed when he died. 
Methinks there must have been a big gap in the world of fun. 
He lent himself so readily to anything at all that was proposed. 
He would patiently be dressed up and decorated in the 
most ridiciilous fashion, and then his proud, grave face 
was the irresistible point. One wet day Mrs. Ferguson 
says she remembers well. She thought she would dress up 
Banjo, and send him on a message. So she got the old chap 
to come along, and she whitewashed his face, put white cotton 
gloves on his hands, white socks and old shppers on 
his feet, a tall hat decorated fantastically on his 
head, and so on, till Banjo was indeed a sight to 
behold. Then she gave him a note, which he carefully 
put into his waistcoat pocket, and sent him off. with 
an old umbrella torn right down at every rib. This 
he held over his head, just as though it were a protection, 
and proudly he walked away, with the air of one who thought 
he looked quite grand and nice. As he went, the road was 
wet, and the old slippers stuck fast in the mud, so Banjo 
just kicked his feet free and went on again in his one-time 
white socks. 

Arriving at his destination Governor Banjo was met with 
shouts of laughter, which, however, did not lessen his pride. 
He sought out Mrs. Ferguson's brother, and daintily putting 
his thumb and forefinger into his waistcoat pocket, <h-ew forth 
the note, which he presented in great style, and with quite a 
serious face. One can imagine the fun and laughter he caused. 
When he got back to his mistress he was sopping wet, but 
still carried the skeleton umbrella, held upright above his 

At another time Mrs. Ferguson was watering her flowers, 
when all at once she wondered where Banjo was. Holding 
the hose in her hand, she went on round towards the back 
to some fruit trees there, when she espied Banjo curled up 
asleep in an outhouse. The sight was too tempting, and 


Banjo was awakened by a spurt of water suddenly drenching 
his face. Up he got and made towards his tormentor, who, 
in spite of her laughter, still kept the water playing on his 
face right between the eyes. " I can almost see the poor 
old creature now," she says, " with his little monkey face, 
and the little bit of short hair which the water made stand 
on end." When Banjo could collect his wits sufficiently 
to get away, he ran to the Rev. James Love's house near 
by, calling loudly, " Marsa, Marsa, come on — Missus cranky ! " 
And then he bethought him of the handcuffs and " Jack 
Nittery." Going to the latter he gasped out, " My word. 
Bom's (Bob's) missus cranky," and to emphasize the fact, 
put up his fingers, and pointing like a hose, made a noise as of 
water pouring against his face. Of course, no one knew 
what he meant, but they guessed it was only some fun. 
That night, when back again at Mrs. Ferguson's, he had regained 
his usual good temper, and evidently felt towards his mistress 
as though she was all that was good. 

Governor Banjo, being a man of importance, had two 
wives, one about his own age and the other quite a young 
thing. He also had a son of some seventeen years. He was 
very kind to them all, and would go without food himself 
at any time to satisfy them. The son was in the end taken 
into the mounted black police, and sent up country, and poor 
old Banjo was in a great way at this. He often talked 
of his boy to my father, and wanted to know when he would 
come back. Soon after this his " old woman " died, and then 
the yoimg wife ran away, so the poor old soul was left alone. He 
evidently hked his old wife best, and weisn't at all pleased 
when anyone laughed, and called her " a greedy old thing." 
The young wife seemed to make him jealous. When he had no 
one left he stayed at North Pine for a long time, and used 
often to tell his master lots of yarns about himself. 

Once, Banjo said, he and another blackfellow were nearly 
poisoned at Nindery cattle station, on the Maroochy. A 
white fellow there gave them a bit of flour which they took 
down the river, and made into a damper, then cooked and 
ate it. Before eating much, however, fits came on, and knowing 
at once what was wrong, they ran to the river and drank a 


lot of salt water, which made them very sick, but cured them. 
" My word ! " said Banjo, " that fellow saucy, he no good 
— ^byamby me hanker — ^poUceman — ^lock up." " I could not 
but burst out laughing," says my father, " at the poor old 
man when he showed me the way he and his mate jumped 
when in the fit, and thi, way they were sick — ^although, no 
doubt, it was very wrong of me. But I could not help it, 
he went on in such a comical way." 

Banjo used to take it into his head to go off to Maroochy 
for a change, then come back again, and afterwards, perhaps, 
go to Brisbane, and so on. It is the black's nature to roam 
about. In their native state they would never stay in one 
place for more than a few months at a time. They said if 
they did the game would become scarce, also the yams 
and roots, and there would be no honey ; so they moved, 
if only a few miles, and these things would all grow again 
by the time they came back. In the end old Governor 
took ill and died at Maroochy. When dying he asked his 
nephew to be sure and take his brass plate and give it to his 
friend at North Pine for him. The nephew did so, but my 
father, of course, told him to kerp and wear it himself. 


Prince Alfred's Visit to Brisbane in l868 — A Novel Welcome to the Duke — 
A Black Regiment — The Man in Plain Clothes — The Darkies' Fun 
and Enjoyment — Roads Tom Petrie has Marked — First Picnic Party to 
Humpybong— Chimney round which a Premier Played — Value of Tom 
Petrie's "Marked Tree Lines" — First Reserve for Aborigines in Queens- 
land (Bribie Island) — The Interest It Caused — Father McNab — Keen 
Sense of Humour — Abraham's Death at Bribie — Piper, the Murderer — 
Death by Poison. 

pOWADAYS it is a common enough sight to see 
natives marshalled together and taking part in 
pa procession, but when the late Duke of Edin- 
burgh (then Prince Alfred) came to visit Bris- 
bane in 1868 such a thing had never been seen before in 
Queensland. Father, who had then been living at North 
Pine for some nine years, went in to Brisbane to 
see the Duke's arrival, and Mr. Tiffin, the Govern- 
ment Architect, coming to him the evening before the 
great event, asked if he could manage somehow to gather 
a number of blacks together as a sort of novel welcome to 
the Duke. It wanted then but an hour to sundown, so 
there was not much time ; but, as luck would have it, a native 
passed on his way to camp soon afterwards, and my father 
speaking to him, asked if he would tell the rest of the blacks 
to come in early and bring their spears, waddies, shields, 
boomerangs, etc., also some " kutchi " and white clay, with 
which to decorate themselves. 

In the morning the natives turned up — about sixty of 
-them — and it was a piece of work to get them aU painted 
and fixed up to represent the different tribes. When that 
was done, " I told them," says Father, " what to do and how 
to march and follow me, and I had just got them ready 
when the procession came in sight near the Post Of&ce, coming 
along Queen Street. So I hurried the darkies off in a trot 


to meet it. I had already told off one blackfellow to go 
to the arch near the Post Office, telling him that a man there 
would show him how to get up, and which way to stand 
and hold his boomerang, and I impressed upon him that he 
must stand steady and make no movement until the whole 
procession had passed through under the arch. 

"As I hurried my regiment along through the crowd, 
in order to reach the landing place near the Gardens in time, 
the ladies cried out about their dresses, saying they would be 
spoilt and dirtied with the paint of the darkies ; but my 
followers took no notice of this, rushing on excitedly after 
me. We arrived just in time to allow me to place them 
properly. Two I put on the arch erected there — one on each 
side — each with a boomerang in his hand, held as though 
ready to throw ; and the others I placed on either side 
of the landing-stage. They looked very well, with their 
weapons and shields poised warlike fashion, and some had 
parrot's feathers up and down in strips on their bodies, and 
others had swansdown ; some were painted, one exact 
half white, and the other black ; others the same but red 
and white ; some were all black with white spots, and others 
had white stripes, etc. As the Duke stepped ashore I saw 
him look first to one side at the blacks, and then to the other, 
as he walked through them, then up at the archway, and 
he was gone. The darkies asked which was the Duke, and 
when I told them the man in plain clothes they were surprised, 
and said he was the same as another white man. They 
thought the one with the cocked hat and the bright things 
on his shoulders and glittering buttons was the Duke. 

" After this I pushed my men through the crowd, and, 
getting to the front, marched them alongside the first division. 
As we went along I got them to give a regular war whoop 
every now and then, and it was amusing to see how the people 
on the sideways and the balconies gave a jump every time 
at the sound. Then I got them to sing their war song. As 
we passed under the arch in Queen Street, the darkie there 
stood still as a statue. He told me afterwards that he was 
afraid to look down on the crowd lest he should tumble 
amongst them. 


" When we arrived at the entrance gate to Government 
House, I stationed my regiment thirty on each side, standing 
at ease. The Dukes's carriage and the rest passed through, 
and when all was over and the vehicles and societies had 
turned back to parade down the streets again, I kept my 
lot behind, then marched down George and Queen Streets, 
the blacks giving their war cry and song as they went. The 
people were pleased at this, and those on the balconies kept 
throwing down oranges and biscuits, which the darkies caught 
in great glee. 

" For their part in the proceedings that day the blacks 
were each given half-a-crown, and then they had to end up 
with three cheers for the Queen. They enjoyed it all so much 
that they said to me in their own tongue that they would like 
to march every day, and wanted to knew if they'd come 
again to-morrow. I said no, that was all I wanted with them 
just then, so off they went merrily to spend their hcdf-crowns, 
not waiting even to wash off their paint. An every-day 
march would have been all very well for them, but poor me — 
I got nothing for my trouble." 

My father deserves some recognition for all he has done 
for his country gratuitously. For instance, he has opened 
up lots of roads. The present one from Brisbane to Humpy- 
bong was marked by him right from Bald Hills to the sea. 
When he came first to North Pine there were no roads, of 
course, but just a timber track from Bald Hills to Brisbane. 
For his own convenience, he therefore marked a road from 
the Pine to reach this, which is the present one in use to 
Bald Hills. At one time he had two or three tracks cut 
through the scrub at South Pine. 

Before his arrival anyone travelling from the direction of 
" Murrumba " had to go up to Sideling Creek to get on to 
the Old Northern Road to Brisbane. Then the first picnic 
party who ever went to Humpybong — Sir James Garrick 
and some other gentlemen — came to him and got him to pilot 
them through the bush to the coast. Later on he marked 
a tree line when the father of the late Hon. T. J. Byrnes 
inquired about land for cattle. Father took him down to the 
Lagoons on the way to Humpybong, and there the Irishman 


afterwards took up country and settled. He also took 
him to Humpybong, and showed him the old brick kiln 
made in the time of the convicts' settlement there. The bricks 
were good, and Patrick Byrnes made use of some of them 
for his chimney — a chimney round which afterwards the 
future Premier played. Still later again my father marked 
the present road to Humpybong, when it was made shorter 
by the bridge across Hayes's Inlet. 

In those days a company started growing cotton at Cabool- 
ture. They came to Father and asked if he could find them 
a shorter way to their plantation than the track which went 
away round by Sideling Creek. So he marked the present road 
to Morayfield. Then from there he marked the road for Captain 
Whish to his property. Also he showed Captain Townsend 
the land that gentleman took up on the Caboolture, and 
marked his road, which is the present Caboolture road crossing 
the bridge. 

The road to Narangba was marked by him, also the one 
from South Pine to Cash's Crossing, and from the lagoons 
on the old Northern Road to Terror's Creek on the Upper 
Pine. The latter has since been altered. 

When Davis (or " Duramboi ") was asked to mark a road 
to Gympie, he sought my father's assistance for the first part 
of the way, saying he would know where he was all right 
when he got to the Glass House Mountains, as he had been 
there before when living with the blacks. So Father took 
him to the other side of Caboolture and put him and party 
on his (" Tom " Petrie's) marked tree line to Petrie's Creek, 
on the Maroochy River. Then when the Kne to Gympie 
was marked, he went with Cobb and Co. to help them pick 
out stopping places for the changing of horses. . The road 
was just frightful at that time ; we in these days could not 
recognize it for the same. 

When quite a youngster, my father marked a road for the 
squatters from Cleveland Point to the Eight Mile Plains, 
so that they could bring their wool down to the store at Cleve- 

Also when a boy he piloted the first picnic party through 
the bush to where Sandgate is now, though he did not mark 
the road to that place. 


Surveyors have often come for a talk with my father, 
and they always used his marked lines. When the present 
railway line to Gympie was being surveyed, he went with the 
surveyors to show them the different ways to Caboolture. 
And he accompanied his friend, Mr. George PhilUps, C.E., 
to Gympie, traversing the different trial lines. Also he 
showed the surveyors the proposed line to Humpybong. 

In 1877, during the Douglas Ministry, the first reserve for 
aborigines was formed. Deciding that there should be such 
a reserve, the late Hon, J. Douglas and several Ministers 
of the Crown journeyed by steamer to Bribie Island, in order 
to pick a suitable spot there. They were accompanied 
by my father, who, because of his intimate knowledge of 
the blacks, was asked by the Government to supervise the 
workings of the reserve, and encourage the natives to settle 
there. Arriving in Bribie Passage, anchor was dropped 
opposite the White Patch, and the whole party went ashore, 
including several blackfeUows who had been brought down 
in the steamer. These and others who were on the island 
were got together, and the Premier spoke and explained 
what the Government meant to do for them, saying that my 
father would overlook everything. The latter gentleman 
interpreted what the Premier said, and the darkies were very 
pleased at the idea, the cheering party when they were leaving, 
and waving to the steamer till it was out of sight. 

The blacks on this reserve were supplied, under my father's 
management, with a boat, a fishing net, harpoons for dugong, 
and other necessaries, and they had to work in exchange 
for their rations, catching fish and curing them, and making 
dugong, shark, and stingaree oils. These and sometimes a 
turtle, were all sold in Brisbcine in exchcinge for the rations, 
which afterwards were doled out to the blacks by an old 
man, who, with his wife, was engaged to five on the island. 
Father went about once a month to see that all was weU. 
When he first mustered the blacks there were about fifty, 
some of these being very old women. 

In winter time the blacks caught great hauls of 
sea mullet, and at other times there were other fish, 
etc., and everything went well, and the settlement 



bid fair to became self-supporting, when in 1879 
the Palmer Government did away with the whole 
thing. My father asked what was to become of the old men 
and women ? " Oh, let them go and work like anyone else," 
was the reply. " What is to happen to the boat and fishing 
net ? " " Oh, let them have those." So the news had to 
be told to the blacks, who were all very miserable about it, 
and the old gins cried and asked how they were going to get 
anything to eat. Their friend told them to cheer up, that 
he was sure the others would not see them want. " No, 
but they will take us back to Brisbane, and when there 
they will get drunk, and beat us. We would like to stay here, 
where we are happy — there is no drinking of grog here, nor 
fighting." " I cannot help it," Father had to tell them ; 
" I have got orders from the Government to break up the 
settlement, and so it has to be." 

Several gentlemen in Brisbane at that time, among them 
a Church of England Bishop, were very much interested 
in favour of this settlement for blacks, and they were much 
against the ending of the concern. However, it had to be. 
It was a pity, as it was quite true what the gins had said, 
and many deaths occurred in drunken fights. Numbers 
of those blacks might have been alive to-day. My father 
asked the Government, during the life of the settlement, for 
authority to keep blacks from the city, where they could 
get drink, but this was not granted. His powers for good 
were limited, as he had no fixed salary, and no free passes. 
Some of the Brisbane tribe would not go to the island, as 
they could get drink in Brisbane, making the excuse that 
they would not be happy away from their native part. 

During the time of this settlement a Scotch priest named 
Father McNab came to North Pine to my father, and stayed 
a few days, getting information about the blacks' ways 
and language, saying he wished to go to Bribie Island, and 
see what he could do in the way of teaching reUgion there. 
So during my father's presence at the island he arrived 
one day with a man, and they pitched their tent near by 
the blacks' camp. Next morning, gathering the natives 
together, he talked to them, and showed them pictures. 


explaining what they meant. The listeners appeared 
attentive at first, but it soon became apparent that the 
work was useless. One morning (the priest told my father 
afterwards), while he was holding prayers, a black named 
" Prince Willie" came to join in with his pipe in his mouth. 
The priest remonstrated, teUing WiUie it was wicked to 
smoke at prayers. " Father McNab," said the man, '' I 
smoke when I Uke." And so things went on for a good 
while, till the priest, finding he could do no good, gave up 
the attempt altogether. 

In the meantime, though, during one of his visits to the island, 
while the priest was absent in Brisbane, my father came upon 
" Prince Willie " with aU the blacks and gins gathered round 
him, acting Father NcNab's part. There he was with an 
old book, from which he pretended to read, jabbering away 
like a parrot, and he had water at his side in which he dipped 
his hand, and then sprinkled the blacks he was about to name. 
He made these latter cross themselves, and then others 
he married with a ring. The white man had to laugh till 
his sides were sore at the way the absurd feUow went on, 
although he felt he should not, and there were the rest of the 
blacks simply rolling on the ground with laughter. A native's 
sense of humour is very keen. " I tried to be serious," 
Father says, " and told them that it was very wrong of them 
to mock a minister, as his wish was to make them better ; 
but one might just as well have tried to make a stone speak as 
try to convert those blacks." 

During the years of my father's management at Bribie 
Island, there were only two or three deaths there. One, he 
remembers, was that of a very old gin, and another that of 
Abraham, the coxswain of the fishing boat. The latter 
took dropsy, and his legs swelled to a great size. The poor 
fellow, when Father was leaving the island one day, asked 
him to bring back a watermelon the next time ; he fancied 
it would make him better. But when the next time came 
he was dead. His people skinned him, but said they did not 
eat him. Their friend had his doubts about the latter fact. 
They skinned him because he was the son of one of the great 
men of the island, and they wished to give his relatives 


the skin. They came and said they wanted to go over 
to the north point of Humpybong, because some Durundur 
blacks were camped there, and the friends of the dead one 
were among them. So my father took them over, and went 
to the camp with them. 

On the way three of the Durundur blacks and some gins came 
to meet the old woman who carried the skin, and when she 
showed the dilly they all commenced to wail and cry and 
cut their heads, the men with tomahawks and the women with 
their yamsticks. Blood flowed freely ; the sight was a terrible 
one, and the sound of the crying was awful. The other 
blacks then rushed and took the weapons from these mourners, 
who gradually became quiet enough to talk over the death, 
and the supposed cause of it. They blamed a blackfellow 
called Piper by the whites, and they swore they would kill 
this man at the first opportunity. Then the dilly was opened, 
and a small one inside containing four pieces of skin was 
given to an old woman of the Durundur tribe, a relative 
of the deceased. Gathering up their belongings, then, they all 
went on to camp, crying again as they went. 

After this my father left these blacks, who, however, 
stayed on where they were awhile, and about a week later 
Piper himself happened to turn up. He came with a few 
Maroochy blacks, and camped alongside the Bribie lot. 
So it was arranged that one night a man of Bribie called 
" Dangahn " (or Pilot by the whites) should sneak up in the 
darkness to Piper and kill him This was tried, but as it 
turned out Piper was not asleep, and the blow missed its aim, 
and therefore as Pilot retreated he in his turn was struck at, 
and received an awful tomahawk cut at the back of the knee. 
Father saw this cut two days afterwards, and it seemed to 
him that the leg was almost severed — the man could not 
move then. However, he recovered in the end, though 
he was always lame. At the time Father said to him, " How 
is it you made such a mess of things ? " The reply was that 
the man was too quick, and the moment he struck he ran 
away, and was not captured, though some chased. However , 
they would have him yet. 

Piper got back to Maroochy among his friends, and stayed 


there a long time, until he thought the feeUng against him 
had been forgotten. He was the blackfellow who had mur- 
dered a botanist at Mooloolah. On this account he had been 
an outlaw (" tallabilla " the natives called it) for a good many 
years, then he was captured, and tried and acquitted ; because 
of the long interval between the trial and murder the 
latter could not be brought home to him properly. Some 
time after the Bribie affair he came into Brisbane with a 
number of others to attend a corrobboree, and camped 
at Kedron Brook with some Durundur blacks, thinking 
he would be safest with them. But one of these blacks, 
called Sambo, a friend of the dead Abraham, had been on 
the watch, and actually had been carrying about poison 
for Piper, thinking he was too smart for another death. 
This poison was what the white men used for native dogs, 
and doubtless had been got at some station. So Sambo ob- 
tained a little rum, and mixing in the poison, offered Piper 
a drink. The unsuspecting blackfellow had a good drink, 
then handed the bottle to another man, with the result that 
they both died. Sambo did not intend the second death, 
of course. An inquiry was held in Brisbane on this poisioning 
affair, and my father interpreted for the blacks. However, 
Sambo could be found nowhere, and the matter had to drop. 
Such was the end of Piper, the murderer, and such was 
often the way in which a blackfellow would be hunted to his 
death by his fellow blacks for a deed of which he was perfectly 
innocent, though he may have been guilty enough in other 


[/■.> face p. .'W. 



Death in 1872 of Mr. Andrew Petrie — A Sketch of His Life taken from the 
Brisbane Courier — Born in 1798 — His Duties in Brisbane — Sir Evan 
Mackenzie — Mr. David , Archer — Colonel Barney — An Early Trip to 
Limestone (Ipswich) — Two Instances of Aborigines Recovering from 
Ghastly Wounds. 

^^^—S^HE following extract from the "Brisbane Courier," 
(M(^0^ dated 22nd February, 1872, may be of interest 
J^^^^ to some readers as an introduction to what 
"~" I have to say of my father's father — his ex- 

plorations, discoveries, etc. : — 

Death of Mr. Andrew Petrie, Sen. 
" The death of the oldest free resident in our community 
and colony is an event not to be allowed to happen without 
notice ; and the aged, revered, and useful citizen who has 
just left our world for a better was no ordinary man. The 
name of Andrew Petrie is indissolubly connected, not only 
with the early history of Brisbane, but of the colony. Al- 
though for some years past incapacitated by a painful malady 
from active interference in the more prominent duties of 
life, he never relaxed his interest in all that was going on 
around him in the colony. For thirty-four years and more 
he had watched its growth and advancement from the ignoble 
position of a mere outlying penal settlement of New South. 
Wales to the dignified and important status of an independent 
province. From 1837 to '^'^ t™^ °^ ^^® death, he watched 
its progress with a solicitude which never flagged, rejoicing 
in its prosperity, and sorrowing in its adversity. Though 
long deprived of bodily sight, his mental vision could, nearly 
to the very last, realise all that had been effected in the way 


of advancement in the city, which has grown up on the com- 
parative waste on which he first landed. 

" Mr. Petrie was a native of Fifeshire, in Scotland, and was 
bom in June, 1798. In early youth he removed to Edinburgh, 
where he was connected with an eminent building firm, 
and served four years in an architect's establishment in that 
city. He embarked in business on his own account, and was 
induced to emigrate to New South Wales in 1831, on the repre- 
sentations of Dr. Lang. Arriving in Sydney in that year, in 
the ship Stirling Castle, he was employed in superintending 
the erection of the doctor's well-known buildings in Jamison 
Street, and subsequently entered into business for himself. 
While thus engaged his ability and probity brought him into 
notice, and at the solicitation of Mr. Commissary Laidley, 
he entered the service of the Government as a clerk of works 
in the Ordnance Department. Shortly afterwards the 
late Colonel Barney arrived in Sydney with a detachment 
of the Royal Engineers, and to this officer the control of the 
department with which Mr. Petrie was connected was trans- 
ferred, and the deceased gentleman retained his position. 
In the same capacity he was employed until his removal to 
Brisbane in 1837. The buildings which had then been 
erected in the city, and were in course of construction, had 
been designed and superintended by a junior military officer, 
and were, naturally enough, not models either of architectural 
skill or of substantial workmanship. Mr. Petrie was accord- 
ingly sent up as a practicarsuperintendent or engineer of works, 
and he arrived with his family (Mr. John Petrie, the eldest, 
being then a mere boy) in August, 1837, in the James Watt, 
the first steamer which ever entered what are now ' Queens- 
land waters.' His duties were to direct and supervise the 
labours of the better class of prisoners — ^mechanics and others 
— who were employed in an enclosure situated where St. 
John's School now stands. The windmill had been erected, 
but the machinery could not be made to work, although 
the sapient military ofiicer had the bush cut down all round 
to allow the wind to reach the sails, and Mr. Petrie's first 
labour was to take down the machinery and set it up again 
in a proper manner. On his arrival the only quarters available 


for himself and family were to be found in the female factory 
(now the Police office), which had been rendered vacant 
by the removal of the female prisoners to Eagle Farm. There 
Mr. Petrie resided until the house in which he lived and 
died was built, and as an instance of his foresight, he insisted 
on its being erected in a line with the court-house, ' as there 
might some day be a. street running that way.' The locality 
was then ' simply in the bush.' 

" In 1838, while out on an excursion with Major Cotton, 
the Commandant, Mr. Petrie and his companions were lost 
for three days, and found their way back to the settlement 
at last by taking bearings from the hill on the south side of 
the river, now known as Mount Petrie. In 1840, accom- 
panied by his son John, two or three convicts, and two 
blackboys, the deceased gentleman made an exploring trip 
into what is now known as the Bunya Bunya country, and the 
party were in extreme peril of their lives, but they succeeded 
in bringing back to Brisbane some specimens of the fruit. 
He was, in fact, the first to discover the bunya bunya tree, 
although its botanical name, Araucaria Bidwilli, does not 
give him the credit. In 1842, in company with Mr. Henry 
Stuart Russell, the Hon. Mr. Wriothesley, and others, Mr. 
Petrie explored the Mary River, which had not before been 
entered by a boat ; and it was while on this expedition 
that he discovered and brought back to civilization the well- 
known ' Durham Boy,' who had been living in a kind of semi, 
captivity with the blacks for fourteen years. While on 
one of these exploratory journeys, and once subsequently, 
Mr. Petrie ascended to the summit of the almost inaccessible 
Beerwah, the highest of the Glasshouse Mountains, from 
whence he took bearings for the assistance of the surveyors 
who were then commencing a trigonometrical survey. On 
the latter occasion, Mr. Petrie and his companions struck 
across the country to Kilcoy, which had then been formed 
as a station for about three days by Sir Evan Mackenzie. 
On his way back to Brisbane, Mr. Petrie met and camped 
with Mr. David Archer, who was out looking for country, 
on the site of the present Durundur Station. 


" Soon after the settlement was thrown open inTi842, 
the Governor, Sir George Gipps, visited the settlement 
in company with Colonel Barney, and the latter endeavoured 
to persuade Mr. Petrie to return to Sydney, as his office was 
abolished, but that gentleman preferred remaining here, 
and trying his chances in what he foresaw would be a flourish- 
ing colony. In 1848, while on a trip to the Downs, he suffered 
severely from an ophthalmic attack, the treatment for which 
resulted in the loss of his eyesight ; and in the same year 
another calamity befel him in the loss of his son, Walter, 
who was drowned in the creek which crosses Queen Street. 
(Singularly enough, Mr. John Petrie lost a son of the same 
name, in the same creek, some years afterwards.) Although 
thus deprived of one of Nature's most valued senses, the de- 
ceased gentleman continued for years to assist in the superin- 
tendence of buildings and other works, and many residents 
will remember, even of late years, his daily visits to works 
in progress. 

" During the last few years, however, Mr. Petrie's activity 
of mind had to succumb to infirmity of body, and he was 
seldom able to leave his own premises. Up to two years 
ago, blind as he was, he rang the workman's bell with his own 
hcmds every morning, and was made acquainted with the 
details of the business of which he had been the founder. 

" Mr. Petrie was not a man to obtrude himself upon public 
notice, but although he never actively interfered in political 
and other movements, he could express his views decidedly 
and vigorously in private. As a father, he was kind and 
indulgent ; as an employer, he was respected, though strict 
and watchful ; and as a friend and companion, he was genial 
and hearty — nothing pleasing him better than " a chat about 
old times." Surrounded by all the surviving members of his 
family, and by a goodly number of grandchildren, he passed 
peacefully away on the afternoon of 20th February, on that 
last journey in search of final rest which all humanity must 
one day undertake. 

" The funeral of the late Mr. Andrew Petrie, which took 
place yesterday afternoon, was one of the largest which has 


been seen in Brisbane for many years past. The greatest 
respect was shown for the deceased by all classes in the 
cominunity. The flags of all the vessels in the river were half- 
mast high, a number of mercantile establishments were 
entirely closed, while others partially relinquished business 
in the afternoon. The cortege moved from the late residence 
of the deceased, at Petrie's Bight, at about four o'clock, and 
the procession extended over half-a-mile in length. After 
the hearse came four mourning coaches,, then nearly sixty 
followers on foot, fifty-five carriages, and upwards of fifty 
horsemen. Amongst those present were Sir James Cockle, 
Chief Justice, Sir Maurice O'Connell, the Hon. the Colonial 
Secretary, the Hon. the Colonial Treasurer, several members 
of the Legislature, the Mayor and aldermen, and many other 
gentlemen holding important positions in the colony. The 
funeral service was read by the Rev. E. Griffith and the Rev. 
C. Ogg." 

In portioning out and directing what work the better 
class of prisoners had to do, my grandfather travelled about a 
good deal. He watched to see that the buildings put up were 
done correctly, and he visited different places, such as Ipswich 
(Limestone then), Dunwich, Logan River, Amity Point 
(for the pilot station), etc. He went to Ipswich to see how 
the Government sheep and cattle under the management 
of Mr. George Thorn were doing, also to inspect the limekUn 
worked by the prisoners there. To take him about he had 
a whale boat manned by a crew of prisoners. " Tom " 
recollects well one trip his father made to Limestone with this 
boat. On this occasion, as an outing for them. Grandfather 
took his wife and two or three kiddies — ^my father included. 
The child of those days has memories of how they carried 
a tent with them in the boat, and how, stopping when they 
came to the first batch of Government sawyers at work on 
the river, he was carried ashore by one of the boat's crew ; 
then afterwards the men fixed up the tent for his father. 
Next day they went on again up the river to Limestone, 
where they stayed a couple of days at Mr. Thorn's house, 
while the head of the expedition made his inspections. At 


that time Limestone (Ipswich) consisted of Mr. Thorn's 
house and the yards for the cattle and sheep, also the limekiln 
and the stockade for the prisoners. On the return journey 
to Brisbane Mr. Petrie called in at all the places where men 
were at work on the river. 

Not only on the Brisbane, but on the Albert and Logan 
Rivers, the Government prisoners worked sawing cedar. 
Then they burnt mangrove trees for ash for soap-making 
at the mouth of the Brisbane. Mr. Petrie inspected these 
places with his whale-boat, as he also now and then visited 
Dunwich to see that the prisoners there were all right, and also 
that the cedar timber was loaded on the vessels for Sydney. 
At other times he took a survey of the Bay and the soundings 
of the different parts of the water theire. 

On the return from one of these trips of inspection to Dunwich 
" Tom " remembers his father bringing a blackfellow back 
with him to the hospital with a fearful wound. The man's 
name was " Parpunyi." He had been fighting with another 
blackfellow, who had become possessed of a razor. In the 
fight the razor made a fearful gash from the small of " Par- 
punyi's " back round to the flank, letting some of the inner 
parts out. Mr. Petrie heard of the event soon after it 
happened, and he went and had the man's wound attended 
to and sewn up, and then took him in the boat to Brisbane, 
where in the hospital he very soon recovered. It is wonderful 
how the blacks' flesh would heal so quickly. 

Another time an incident of the same sort happened in Queen 
Street, opposite where the Bank of New South Wales now 
stands. Two blacks were fighting there, and as at Dunwich, 
one of them — " Murrki " — ^had a razor in his hand, and the 
other man — " Kebi " — ^was wounded in much the same way as 
" Parpunyi." In this case, however, there was no hospital, 
but the man pushed the protuding parts in, and holding 
them so with both hands, walked off to camp, which was near 
the present Roma Street Station. There he had to lie on 
his back, and the blacks put very fine charcoal and ashes 
in the wound, and that was all the doctoring he got. He 
had to keep on his back for a long time, but in the end recovered 
all right, though the wound left a very large scar. My father 


who went to see the black several times during his enforced 
quietude, says that a white man so doctored would not have 
liveii. The man told the boy that the wound did not pain 
him much then. 


" Tinker," the Black and White Foley Bullock— Inspecting the Women's 
Quarters at Eagle Farm — A Picnic Occasion— Cutting in Hamilton Road, 
made originally by Women Convicts — Dr. Simpson — His After-dinner 
Smoke — His Former Life — The "Lumber-yard" — The Prisoners' 
Meals — The Chain-gang — Logan's Reign — The " Crow-minders " — 

iE in these days can hardly imagine Bris- 
bane without horses in drays and carts and 
traps of all sorts, but at first when my 
father was a little chap there were none. 
One comical conveyaiice he remembers well. It was an 
old spring cart with a cover on it, drawn by a black 
and white poley bullock, yoked in shafts as a horse 
wotild be, and driven by a prisoner called Tom Brooks. 
This turnout belonged to the Government, and was 
used to convey the prisoners' dirty clothes to the 
women convicts at Eagle Farm each week to be washed. 
Two or three times when Mr. Petrie went out to inspect 
these quarters at Eagle Farm he took his wife and children, 
making a picnic of the trip. They all drove in this grand 
buggy drawn by " Tinker, the bullock." On these occasions 
old Tom Brooks, the driver, would walk alongside and lead 
the bullock, but when carting the clothes he sat in the buggy 
and drove as though the animal were a horse. Sometimes 
" Tom's " brother John, being a bigger boy, would accompany 
old Brooks, when he went with the clotiies, and considered 
it a great honour to drive " Tinker." On the picinc occasions, 
the party always stopped on the road to boil the kettle 
(there were no biUies in those days), and to give " Tinker " 
a rest. The halting place was past Breakfast Creek, on the 
river bank where the ice-works were afterwards built. There 
was a spring there, and it was a nice place to rest. This road, 
which is the present Hamilton Road, had formerly been 


made by the women prisoners. Looking at the cutting 
now it seems impossible to realise this. Of course it has 
been extended since. 

A Dr. Simpson had charge of these prisoners at Eagle 
Farm (about the years 1840-41). In his cottage he had 
a little room off the kitchen containing a sofa, table, and some 
chairs. Here he was in the habit of retiring for an after-dinner 
smoke and rest. On one occasion when young " Tom '' 
had accompanied his father and mother to Eagle Farm, 
he happened to go into the doctor's kitchen, and saw there 
the man cook with a large Indian pipe. The youngster 
watched the man and saw him place the bowl on a little shelf on 
the side of the wall next the doctor's room, then noticed him 
put the stem, which was two or three feet long, through a 
little hole in the wall. This made the boy very inquisitive 
as to what would happen next, and he watched more intently. 
The cook then filled the big pipe with tobacco and put a red 
hot coal on this, and " Tom," dodging round the doorway, 
saw the doctor, from where he lay on the sofa in the next 
room, take hold of the stem, and putting the end in his mouth, 
calmly start to puff. This was intensely interesting of course, 
and "Tom" thought it very funny the way the doctor 
enjoyed his after-dinner smoke. 

Dr. Simpson also smoked cigars at that time, and in after 
years he evidently gave up the long pipe, for he was known 
never to use anything but a cigar. Some notes re this 
gentleman kindly sent along by a reliable correspondent, 
may be of interest : — 

" When Dr. Simpson was a young man he was in the army 
in Ireland — ^whether as a surgeon, or as a private or otherwise, 
I do not remember. He studied as a doctor in Edinburgh, 
but was an EngUshman. He was employed by two ladies 
of the Royal Family of Russia to travel with them from St. 
Petersburg through Europe to Rome, etc., and back. He 
studied homeopathy, or rather that system of curing diseases, 
under Hahnemann (a German), the originator of that system, 
and was remarkably successful in effecting cures. He was 
employed as doctor for the children by the Duchess of Devon- 
shire. He wrote the first book in the English language on 


homeopathy, and the doctors were so offended at it that they 
persecuted him out of the country. He informed the Duchess 
of Devonshire of his resolution, and she was sorry to lose 
his services, and told him if she could assist him in any way 
she would do it. He came to Sydney and then got permission 
from the Government to come to Brisbane, then a convict 
colony. Making it a free settlement was talked of, and 
officers, police magistrate, and commissioner of Crown lands 
would be required. He then used the influence of the Duchess 
of Devonshire, and that put him wherever he wished. He 
took the Commissioner for Crown Lands, but had to act for 
some time as police magistrate." 

Dr. Simpson had the reputation of being very clever 
at curing illnesses in those early days of Brisbane. My 
father remembers him well, also his friend, W. H. Wise- 
man. A writer in a South Brisbane paper recently speaking 
of the convict days, says : — '' It is only just to say there 
were bright reliefs to this dark outlining. ' Old hands ' 
named with gratitude Dr. Simpson, the medical officer, 
afterwards a resident of Goodna, and the chaplains of 
the penal times as their best friends. Commandant 
Cotton was considered their best governor. Mr. Andrew 
Petrie, senior, foreman of works, had won all their hearts. 
They never tired praising these good men. Let the present 
time fully honour their memories as lights shining in a dark 

The better class of prisoners were not hobbled as the chain 
gang were, but they worked in a place called the lumber yard, 
which stood where the Longreach Hotel is now. This was 
a waUed enclosure containing different buildings where 
the prisoners worked at trades of every description. They 
made their own clothes, caps, and boots, and kept the chain 
gang supplied with these also ; then they made the nails 
and iron bolts, etc., required for buildings ; they tanned 
leather, and made all the soap and candles needed for the 
settlement. Also there were blacksmiths, carpenters, cabinet 
makers, coopers, wheelwrights, barbers, etc. The brick 
wall surrounding this place was high, with one opening — 
a gate facing Queen Street. Close to this gate on the outside 


there was a sentry-box, where the soldier who kept the gate 
could retire if it came on to rain. This soldier had to march 
up and down in front of the gate to prevent any escape, 
and after so many hours he was reheved by another man, 
and so on through the day till about six o'clock, when 
half-a-dozen or eight red coats arrived with their sergeant. 
Then the overseer (a head prisoner) would muster the men, 
and placing them in rows, would call out their names to 
see if any were missing ; after which they were all marched 
out of the gate and down to the barracks which stood a few 
yards above Messrs. Chapman & Company's estabUshment. 
The overseer, or gaoler, then searched each man before 
locking him up, in order to ascertain that he had no tobacco 
or anything on his person. 

" Tom " often went with his father to the lumber yard 
when a boy. He can remember events of those days better 
than he can happenings of twelve months ago. The prisoners 
had a cook amongst them, who cooked each man's food for 
him. Twice a week tea, and sugar, and meat, were doled 
out. Meat was divided in the following fashion : It was 
cut up into equal junks, as many small pieces as there were 
men, and placed on a bench ready. Then one prisoner 
was blindfolded and put in a comer, while another stood 
by the meat, the rest waiting in a row. The man near the 
meat touched a piece with his finger, calling " Who for this ? " 
and the blindfolded prisoner made- answer with one of the 
waiting men's names, the owner of which then went forward 
and took his piece. So it went on till all was finished. This 
was done that there might be no grumbling about more bone 
in one piece than another, and all seemed satisfied with the 

Besides this tea and sugar and meat twice a week, the 
prisoners daily were fed on rough com meal porridge. This 
was served out in kids (small wooden tubs, Uke cheese vats, 
but shallow), which held about two quarts of the mixture, 
flavoured with salt, but, of course, eaten without milk. 
The chain gang got nothing but this hominy three times a 
day. My father says some of them looked fatter and 
stronger than those with the extras. 


Though Grandfather Petrie had nothing to do with how 
the chain gang were treated, his young son " Tom," as might 
be supposed, often came into contact with them. He has seen 
about three hundred of these men marched from the barracks 
down to where Messrs. Campbell and Sons' warehouse now 
stands. They worked from here towards the Government 
gardens, chipping corn and hilling it, and soldiers kept guard 
to see that no one ran away. As soon as the men arrived 
on the ground, they all pulled off their shirts before starting 
to work. Father has heard them say this was in order to 
keep these upper garments clean. They worked away 
with only their trousers and caps and boots on, and their 
bodies were all tanned with the sun. " You would see," 
says Father, " the poor fellows' backs marked with the lash, 
some not quite healed from the last flogging." They had 
each so many yards to get through before time to " knock 
off " came. Some would finish beforehand, and these would 
be allowed to sit down, and rest, but now-and-again one 
could not get through in time, and he was therefore flogged. 
A pine tree stood on the bank of the river, one hundred 
yards up from where the -steam ferry now lands its passengers, 
and to thi . tree these prisoners were tied to be flogged. 

Though my father has many a time seen men flogged 
in Queen Street, he does not remember the scene at this 
pine tree. But often the little chap sat and listened to the 
prisoners as they rested and told stories of how they had been 
treated in Logan's time. They pointed out to the boy 
the tree where the floggings took place for unfinished work, 
or for an answer to an overseer. The overseers were picked 
prisoners, and they were generally cruel men who would 
report everything to the Commandant, in order to gain favour. 
They had freedom to go about without a guard watching them, 
and they were kept apart from the others, as they ran a risk 
of being murdered for their cruelty. Father has often 
heard the prisoners say it was awful the way they were 
treated in Logan's time, and they thought it a blessing 
when his end came, for they had then better times. The 
blacks, they remarked, got the credit of the murder, but they 


themselves Icnew who did it, and it was all right for he deserved 
his death. 

The chain gang was generally divided up into lots who 
worked at New Farm, Kangaroo Point, South Brisbane, 
from Turbot Street along the river towards Roma Street 
Station, and from the present steam ferry at Creek Street 
along the river to the Government gardens. Mostly the work 
they did was to hoe the ground and plant and hill corn. 
Father has often seen the convicts cultivating the ground 
about Brisbane, and it was all done by hoe — no plough. 
' I have seen," he says, " the poor fellows march with chains 
on their legs to their work at New Farm and back again." 
On each cultivated part when the corn was in cob, a prisoner 
was put to keep away the crows and the cockatoos. He 
was dubbed the " crow-minder," and he had what was called 
a clapper to make a noise to frighten these birds. This 
clapper was made of three pieces of board, two about seven 
inches long and four inches wide, and the third some six 
inches longer, which was shaped like a butter pat with a 
handle. The two shorter pieces were fastened one on either 
side of the long one by a piece of cord or string put through 
the holes made in the boards, and when this affair was held 
in the hand and shaken about it made a great noise. The 
man was supposed to walk up and down through the corn 
shaking this, for the benefit, or rather otherwise, of the 
crows who came inquiring. 

These " crow-minders " were prisoners under short sentence, 
and they were not chained like the others. The man who 
watched the land running along the river from Creek Street 
was called " Andy," and he had a hut built up in the fork 
of a gum tree on the bank of the river, down a little way 
from the pine tree already mentioned. This gum tree had 
steps made of pieces of iron, driven in like sawyers' dogs, 
and it was called " the crow-minder's tree." " Andy " used 
to climb up to his hut and watch that the blacks did not 
swim across from Kangaroo Point, or come in a canoe to steal 
the corn or sweet potatoes. The blacks were very daring 
in those days. " Andy " had an old flint pistol which he 
fired off to give the alarm when the darkies appeared. The 


hut was a protection from them, and when up in it he could 
keep any number off. The " crow-minder " at New Farm 
had a similar tree and hut ; it stood on the river bank near 
where the readence of Sir Samuel Grifi&th now stands. 

Father has often gone about among the com with " Andy " 
while the clapping was going on. The boy was told in those 
days that once in Logan's time, when Kangaroo Point was 
under a crop of com, the blacks were very troublesome ; 
nothing seemed to prevent them from stealing. So one was 
shot and skinned, then stuffed and put up among the com 
to frighten the rest. It turned out a good cure, the com 
wasn't troubled afterwards. Whether this was true or not, 
my father does not know, but he was told it as a fact many 
a time. 


"Andy's" Cooking— Andrew Petrie's Walking Stick as a Warning— 
Tobacco-making on the Quiet— One Pipe Among a Dozen— The 
Floggings— " Old Bumble "—Gilligan, the Flogger, Flogged Himself- 
His Revenge— " Bribie," the Basket-maker— Catching Fish in Creek 
Street— Old Barn the Prisoners Worked In—" Hand carts." 

INDY" had an instrument he called a fiddle, 
made (in the shape of a grater) from a piece 
jof tin, with holes punched in it with the end 
of a file, and nailed on to a piece of flooring board. 
This he used to grate down cobs of com for meal to cook 
and eat on the sly. If he were caught at this he would be 
flogged, he said. He had a small bag in which he carried 
this meal. In those days the creek which ran down Creek 
Street, existed of course, and a bridge spanning it opposite 
Messrs. Campbell and Sons' warehouse, entered with its 
northern end the Petrie's garden. Under this part of 
the bridge there was a nice flat bank, which always kept dry 
as the tide did not reach it, and here Andy used to cook his 
maizemeal and the other eatables he got hold of. " Tom," 
with his brothers Andrew and Walter, used to take him tea 
and sugar and flour on the quiet, and one boy kept guard 
while the cooking was going on, so that Andy would not be 
taken unawares and flogged. In this out-of-the-way place 
the prisoner made round things which passed as doughboys, 
and when the peaches were ripe the youngsters brought him 
some from their father's garden, which he stewed and cooked 
up. (This garden, which I have before mentioned, often 
contained lots of fruit. Mr. Knight speaks of it in his book 
as " a large area of cultivation, with groves of luxuriant 
orange, lemon, lime, and guava trees.") The boys thought 
Andy's cooking far better than what they got at home, and 
when they watched him and then joined in the eating part, 
everything tasted most delightfully sweet and delicious. 


" Stolen waters are sweet," I suppose. 

Many a time " Tom's " mother gave her boys tea and sugar, 
and meat and bread for the prisoners, unknown to anyone 
else. It was against the rules, of course. And through her 
intercession, the prisoners afterwards used to say, they were 
saved many a punishment. Grandfather himself, though 
kind, was strict, but yet during all his reign, according to his 
son " Tom," he never had one man flogged. " He used to 
threaten them whenever he caught them doing anything 
wrong," my father says, " then after a little, would think 
no more about it. He always carried a walking stick, and 
when going into any of the workshops in the lumber yard 
never forgot to make a noise on the floor with this stick. 
The prisoners hearing, knew who was coming, and had time 
to put anything aside and be on their best behaviour. They 
used to make little tubs and other things on the sly for the 
soldiers, and these were smuggled out by means of the sentry, 
and in exchange tobacco was smuggled in. The prisoners 
were not allowed to smoke, so if they got hold of a pipe and 
tobacco, they hid them in their workshops, and waited a 
chance, or some of them preferred chewing the tobacco." 

The plant known as the tobacco plant came up and grew 
like a weed on all the cultivated ground in those days. 
Whether the seed was originally set or not, my father does 
not know. It grew in the Petries' garden, and old Ned the 
gardener used to make tobacco from the leaves. He pro- 
ceeded in this way : After drying the plant well, he took all 
the big stalks from the leaves and boiled them in a pot for 
a certain time, with some water and black sugar (in those 
days sugar was black and no mistake). When this mixture 
was cold he soaked the leaves in it for a while, then taking 
them out, folded them into a square, flat cake, and wrapping 
a cloth (also wet in the juice) around this cake, he put it 
between two flat, heavy stones and left it to become pressed. 
The prisoners in the lumber yard also made tobacco in this 
way. Father says, " I have many a time taken the leaf to 
them on the sly from our garden, and have seen them make 
the tobacco, sometimes pressing the cake in a vice instead of 
between stones." 


Sometimes the chain gang got hold of a piece of tobacco 
made like this, but very seldom. They got it through the 
crow minder, who would bury a piece for them in the field 
where their work lay with the corn. He hid it in a certain 
place, and marked the spot that it might be easily found- 
At night, when they were all shut up together, he would tell 
them about this, and next day when they went to work they 
had no trouble in finding it. The bother was to smoke it, for 
the only chance was the dinner hour, when the overseers were 
away for an hour or so. There would very likely be only one 
pipe among a dozen of them, so one man filled and lit the 
precious object and had a few draws, then passed it on to 
another man, and so on till all had had a turn. It went from 
one to another till finished just as the blacks' " honeyrag " 
did in camp. The soldiers looked on and said nothing so 
long as the overseers were away. Father has often sat with 
the convicts while they indulged in this sort of smoke, and 
seeing their enjoyment, was what first made him learn the 
habit when quite a tiny chap. He used even to make tobacco 
in their way for his own use. 

Captain Logan met his death in 1830, and my grandfather 
arrived in Brisbane in 1837, so the latter's son, " Tom," 
did not witness the worst of the convicts' sufferings. However, 
the sights he saw were bad enough. Many a time he has 
seen members of the chain gang flogged in Queen Street 
in the old archway at the prisoners' barracks. They got 
from fifty to two hundred lashes at a time. They were 
stripped naked, and tied to the triangle by hands and feet, 
so that they could not move. Some were flogged for a very 
small offence, and on the backs of others were unhealed 
marks of a previous flogging. The rest of the prisoners 
were arranged round in order to get the benefit of the sight, 
and a doctor stood by in case the unfortunate fainted. Then 
the punishment began, and as each stroke fell the chief 
constable counted aloud the number. Out of all those 
he has seen flogged. Father does not remember even one 
man fainting, though sometimes the blood flew out at every 
lash. Some poor wretches cried aloud in their agony for 
mercy, or to their mothers and friends to save them, others 


cursed and swore at the flogger and all the officials, and others 
again remained perfectly still and quiet. At times the lash 
went too far round the side of the victim's body, and as it 
hurt more then, he swore and called to the flogger to " hit 
fair on the back." 

In Logan's time a man called " Old Bumble " was the flogger. 
He was an inhuman wretch from all accounts, and was hated 
by the prisoners. The man who succeeded him was Gilligan, 
the flogger, and my father remembers this man once being 
flogged himself. Gilligan was the Commandant's gardener, 
and lived apart from the other prisoners in a little hut near 
his work, where he cooked his own meals of hominy, and the 
vegetables he was allowed from the garden. The Com- 
mandant's quarters were situated where the new Lands 
Office is being built now, and his^ garden extended down 
along the river bank. It was a nice one, well laid out and 
well kept, and contained vegetables of all sorts, also fruit 
trees and flowers galore. 

Once Gilligan was caught doing something very wrong 
in the eyes of the law, and he was tried, found guilty, and 
sentenced to one himdred lashes. The day for his punishment 
was fixed, but it was found difficult to get a prisoner to volun- 
teer to flog him. However, at last a black man named Punch 
(from the Isle of France) came forward. Father remembers 
the incident well, and can almost now see Gilligan brought 
forth from the cells and stripped and tied to the triangles. 
Then a number of other prisoners were marched up and placed 
in line to look on, and the chief constable (Fitzpatrick) stood 
close by to count the strokes aloud, while another constable 
jotted them down with a pencil on a piece of paper. The 
doctor was also there. When the word was given. Punch, 
who was left-handed, was ready with his shirt off and the 
" cat " in his left hand. He flourished it round his head 
and came down so severely that blood showed the first time, 
and got worse afterwards, and Gilligan cried out for the mercy 
which was not shown. Indeed, the prisoners stood round 
grinning with delight to see the man who had so often flogged 
them getting it himself. Punch hit nearly always on the same 


place, which grew raw, and his unfortunate victim was covered 
with blood from shoulder to heel at the finish. 

Some five months after this -Punch got into trouble and 
was sentenced to fifty lashes. Now was Gilligan's revenge ! 
Father remembers how Punch's black skin shone when he 
was stripped and tied up, and how Gilligan rolled up his sleeves 
and spat on his handle of the " cat " so that it would not 
sUp. But the hit he gave only made a brown mark on the 
man's dark skin, and even at the end very little blood came ; 
his skin was too thick for Gilligan. The latter's shirt was 
ringing wet with perspiration, and one could see he tried 
his best to give it hard to Punch, who, however, stood all 
like a brick, and made no sound nor movement, though his 
back was well marked. The prisoners standing by understood, 
and they seemed to enjoy the " fun." 

Some time after this. Punch ran away, and got into the 
bush, and the poor fellow's body was found floating on the 
Bremer by John Petrie on his way to Limestone. It was 
supposed he took cramps while swimming across the river. 

In those days there was a prisoner among the others who 
made baskets for the Government called " Bribie, the basket 
maker." He was not chained, and was allowed to go about 
in a boat to get cane from the scrubs for his work. He only 
had a short sentence, and it weis not worth his while to run 
away. Indeed, if any of these prisoners with liberty to go 
and come, attempted escape or misbehaved, they were put 
back into the chain gang, and it was known too well what that 
meant. Some who worked in batches (like the sawyers) 
had an overseer (also a prisoner) always with them, and 
he reported behaviour. It was from this man Bribie, my 
father thinks, that Bribie Jsland got its name. He cannot 
remember distinctly on this point, but has some vague recol- 
lection of a connection between the man and the island^- 
whether he was blown ashore there, or what, he does not know. 
At the mouth of the creek which formerly ran up Creek 
Street, just where the steam ferry landing is now, a place 
was built by the prisoners for the catching of fish and crabs. 
Two beams were put side by side across from bank to bank 
at highwater mark, and they were flat on top, so that one 


could walk on them. Between these beams slabs were 
supported, which extended down into the mud. They were 
close together, but in the middle an opening was left about 
six feet wide, which was bound by two piles standing some 
nine feet above the beams. These piles were joined across 
the top with a piece of timber, and this had a ring bolt in 
the centre for a block and tackle, by which a hght frame-work 
made of wood was worked up and down. To this frame 
work was attached a large basket (Bribie's handiwork) 
made so that the fish and crabs which entered were caught, 
and it had a square hole (with a cover) on top by which 
they could be taken out. 

When the water was high, and just on the turn, the basket 
was lowered, then when the tide had gone down, it was 
hoisted up level with the beams. Fish were plentiful in the 
river then, there being nothing much to disturb them, and 
sometimes the basket contained a great supply. Old shank 
bones, with a Uttle meat attached, were thrown into the 
creek to encourage the fish to come in, and the basket trap 
was only worked two or three times a week, so that the fish 
did not grow afraid, having several days of undisturbed 
comings and goings. A prisoner had charge of the working 
of this trap, and he took the fish caught to the Commandant, 
Mr. Andrew Petrie, and all the other officials in turn. 

Just at the comer of Elizabeth and Albert Streets, where 
a public house now stands, there used to be a large building 
erected for holding and thrashing the maize grown by the 
prisoners. This bam was built with walls of tea-tree logs 
notched into one another, the roof was thatched with blady 
grass, and it had a wooden floor. Bags were nailed all round 
the walls to prevent grain flying through the openings when 
the com was thrashed. The thrashing was done by six men 
at a time working in pairs, each man with a flail, and they 
kept very good time, swinging their instruments round 
their heads and coming down one after the other on the 
cobs — ^hit for hit. Other prisoners shovelled the corn up, 
and sifting it in sieves, put it into bags ready for cartage 
to the windmill, where it was ground into meal. Alongside 
this bam a short-sentence prisoner lived in a hut ; he was 


a sort of clerk, and kept books which showed the quantity 
of grain coming and going. 

The com in cobs was taken from the fields to the barn 
in what was called a hand-cart. These carts were something 
after the style of a small dray with low wheels, and a pole 
instead of shafts. Each pole had two bars across, one at the 
end and another three feet from it, and four prisoners dragged 
the cart, two on either side of the pole holding to the bars. 
The bars reached about to the men's waists, who as they 
walked, thus pulled the cart. Other two prisoners helped 
by shoving, and a red-coat walked along behind with a gun 
on his shoulder — the bayonet shining brightly in the sun. 
Thus the poor fellows, chained as they were, had to drag 
the empty carts down to the river bank where the com grew, 
then after loading up they dragged them back to the bam. 
When full the carts held nearly as much as a dray would, 
and generally four of them were kept busy — two going and 
two coming — ^when the com was ripe. As they passed, 
one would hear the click, click of the chains on the prisoners' 
legs. Sometimes these hand-carts were utiHsed for carrying 
the grain from the bam to the windmill, but mostly bullock 
drays were used for that purpose. 


The Windmill (present Observatory) — Overdue Vessel — Sugar or "Coal 
Tar" — On the Treadmill —Chain Gang Working Out Their Punish- 
ment — Leg Irons Put On — Watching the Performance — Prisoner's 
Peculiar Way of Walking—" Peg-leg" Kelly — Fifteen or Sixteen Years 
for Stealing Turnips — Life for Stealing a Sheep— Tom Petrie's Les- 
sons — The Convict's "Feather Beds" — First Execution by Hanging 

Sowing Prepared Rice. 

^i=HE Windmill (the present Observatory, much 
altered, of course) is said to have been erected 
in 1829. It was bmlt for the purpose of grinding 
the maize grown by the prisoners into meal, 
but there was something very wrong with the machinery 
evidently, for the wind woxild not move the " fans " round 
in a decent fashion. For years everything thought of was 
tried to alter this defect ; even the ground round about 
was cleared of its heavy timber, so that the wind would have 
fair play, but all to no purpose. However, the maize was 
ground in spite of aU, for the mill was turned into a treadmill, 
and by way of punishment the prisoners' legs had to do the 
work the wind refused to perform. 

Mr. Knight in his book says : " The year 1837 marked 
two important events in the early history of Brisbane — ^the 
arrival of the Petries, and of the first steamer which ploughed 
the waters of Moreton Bay." Mr. Andrew Petrie, who 
before his departure from Sydney was attached to the Royal 
Engineers there, examined the windmill on his arrival, 
at once discovered the fault of the machinery, and had 
it put to rights. So after that the mill could do its own work, 
but stiU the " treads " were used as a punishment for the 
badly-behaved prisoners, and at these times the com was 
ground by double power. It was no hght punishment, 
as many a prisoner could tell to his cost, especially a heavily- 
ironed man — poor wretch. 


My father remembers a time in those days when the vessel 
which came from Sydney with supphes for the settlement 
was a long time overdue, and it was thought she must be 
wrecked. Tea and sugar and flour and a number of other 
things were scarce, on account of her non-arrival. Here 
it may be mentioned that the tea then was all green tea, 
and very coarse, like bits of stick— indeed it was christened 
" posts and rails." The sugar the prisoners called " coal 
tar," for it was almost black like tar. " I do not know," 
Father says, " what the people of to-day would say if they 
had to live on such stuff ; they would think their last hour 
had come. But we all lived and kept in good health." 
One thing which was " grand," according to him, however, 
was boiled pumpkin and sweet potatoes, mashed and mixed 
together, and then baked in the oven in the shape of a sugar- 
loaf, alongside a piece of roast beef. Another idea was sweet 
potatoes mixed with commeal and made into cakes. Then 
they used to roast the Indian com in a pan and grind it to 
make coffee, sweetened with the " coal tar." 

To return to the overdue vessel. In order to gain a good 
supply of meal to make up for the other things. Grandfather 
Petrie got the better class of prisoners to volunteer to work 
the treadmill, as it was calm weather (no wind to speak of), 
and the mill was slow in its work. The prisoners did not 
object, as it meant plenty to eat for themselves as well as 
for the rest of the settlement. The boy " Tom " marched 
alongside with the convicts up to the mill, and when there 
he saw them go in turns to the wheel, so many on at a time. 
It was a very hot day, and the first lot took off their shirts, 
and then went up some five steps to get on to the wheel, 
which was like a water-wheel, and was thirty or forty feet 
long, and the treads being about nine inches wide. An iron 
bolt at one end held it steady till the prisoners were on, then 
when that was withdrawn the weight of the men started 
it moving, and they simply had to step up or be hit on the 
shins ; they had a rail to hold on by, of course. A shaft 
ran through from the wheel into the windmill, where it con- 
nected with the cogwheels there — the works were something 
like those of a chaficutter. To look at the convict > stepping. 


one would think they were going upstairs. They had to tread 
so many minutes, and when one man got off at the far end, 
another one took his place at the starting point. The man 
just off would have a rest till his turn came round again. 
Some took to it so well that they could just hold on with the 
left hand as they stepped, and with the right scribble on the 
boards drawings of ships, animals, and men — others seemed 
to tire altogether. However, on this occasion it was not 
a punishment, and most of them were very jolly over it, 
chaffing one another, and calling, " Hullo, Bill, or Jack, 
what have you done to be put on the treadmill ? " And 
so they went on till plenty of meal was ground to keep things 
going, and a couple of days later the expected vessel turned 
up. She had been windbound in some bay on the coast. 

Father also saw the unfortunate chained men on the 
treadmill working out their punishment. You would hear 
the " click, click " of their irons as they kept step with the 
wheel,, and those with the heavier irons seemed to have 
" a great job " to keep up. Some poor wretches only just 
managed to puU through till they got off at the far end, then 
they sat down till their turn came to go on again. They all 
had to do so many hours, according to their sentence ; an 
overseer kept the time, and a couple of soldiers guarded them. 
When they had put in their time they were marched back 
to barracks. 

The leg irons for the chain gang were made in the lumber 
yard by a blacksmith prisoner there. A supply was kept always 
on hand, some light and some heavy, and when a prisoner 
was sentenced to wear them for a certain time he was taken 
to this blacksmith's shop to be fitted up ; then when his 
sentence had expired he was sent there to have them taken 
off again. Father has many a time watched both perform- 
ances. The rings which went round the man's ankle were 
made in two half circles the size of the leq, the ends flattened 
having holes punched in them for rivets. One end was riveted 
loosely so that it would act as a hinge, then the man standing 
near a small anvil put out his foot, and the blacksmith fitted 
the iron on and riveted the other end. He then tightened 
the loose one. When both legs were fixed up, a piece of 


leather, made round, like the top of a boot, was put in between 
the iron and the man's leg, so that the skin would not be so 
readily chafed. When the irons were taken off, the rivets 
were cut through with a cold-chisel. 

The lighter irons had links about the size of a plough 
chain, the others being much heavier. The chains were 
some two feet long between the legs, and in the middle of 
each was a small ring with a string through it, which, being 
connected to the prisoner's belt, kept the irons from dragging 
on the ground during motion. Prisoners wearing chains 
had a peculiar way of walking, and you would see the poor 
fellows just released after six months or so, going along 
as though they still wore them. Heavily-chained men 
always dragged their feet along in a weary fashion — ^life 
to them could not have been much joy. Ordinary trousers 
would not go over a man's irons, so the chain gang all wore 
these garments opened right down the outside seams, and 
buttoned there with big black buttons. 

At that time " Tom " was the youngest son of the Petrie 
family, and there being of course no school to go to, his father 
used to take him two or three days in the week to the lumber 
yard to his of&ce, there to get lessons from his clerk. This 
clerk was a prisoner, and he was called, " Peg-leg Kelly," 
because he had a wooden leg, but Grandfather himself said, 
he was a very good scholar. He kept books for the lumber 
yard, and could tell from them what the prisoners made and 
everything that was done in the yard ; also all the prisoners' 
names, why they were sent out, and the length of their 
sentence, etc. Father says, " I have often heard my father 
say that some of the poor fellows got fifteen or sixteen years 
for stealing turnips, others were sentenced for life because 
they had stolen sheep, or for forgery. Nowadays, for the same 
offence or worse, they pay a fine or earn a few months in 
gaol, where they are kept like gentlemen with everything 
they want, and very often the moment time is up something 
is done to get back again. If they were treated as the pris- 
oners in the early days, they would not be so anxious to get 
in again, but would turn honest, even as the convicts did. 


Those poor fellows when they once got free could be trusted 
with almost anything. 

Very little in the way of lessons my father says he learnt 
in those days. So soon as his father left the office and went 
from the lumber yard to inspect the outside works, " Tom " 
was off out among the prisoners watching them as they made 
nails, and all the other various articles, without a thought 
to his lessons. " Poor Kelly," he says, " would never tell 
on me. Although I used to get many a thrashing from 
Father for not knowing my lessons, and Kelly got many a 
scolding for not getting me along better, he would never 
' split ' on me. I used to take him now and again a bit of 
tobacco and a little tea and sugar, or a piece of bread, all 
unknown to Father, and sometimes I gave the other prisoners 
some, so that I was a great favourite among them, and 
no matter what I did they never let it out. I have often 
thought since that if I had taken poor Father's advice, and 
stuck to my lessons, it would have been better for me to-day. 
But I only thought of playing in those days, and though 
I had, of course, no opportunity to become what my father 
was, the few poor chances which came in my way were passed 
unrecognised. Just at this time myself and brothers (John, 
Andrew, and Walter) were the only boys in the settlement, 
with the one exception of the barrack sergeant's son. (Of 
course, later on there were lots of youngsters.) This boy 
(Billy Jones) was not allowed in among the prisoners, and 
we were really not supposed to be there unless we went 
with our father. My brothers, like myself, were in great 
favour with the convicts, as they used also to bring food 
and tobacco to them. The prisoners would do anjrthing for 

A convict called " Joe Goosey," an odd job man, was much 
dishked by the others, because he told tales about them. 
He could never grow any sign of whiskers, and for this reason 
and because he wore small silver rings in his ears, he was jeered 
at, and called " The Lady." The convicts could not stemd 
a " tell-tale " at any price, and poor " Joe Goosey," a soft 
sort of a fellow, had anything but a pleasant life among them. 


But even he had no complaints to make of the Petrie young- 

The building where the prisoners slept (the barracks) was 
divided up into wards for the different classes — the chain 
gang occupied one, and so on. The beds the poor fellows 
had to lie on were merely movable boards six feet long and 
two feet wide, and these were supported by ledges one higher 
than the other, so as to cause a slant from the head downwards 
to the feet. Also at the higher end a piece of timber rounded 
off and nailed there served as a pillow. Add to this a double 
blanket, and we have the one-time convict's " feather bed." 

In the centre part of the barracks was a room used as a 
church, and here service was held every Sunday. (This 
room was afterwards used as the Supreme Court.) The 
chain gang always clanked upstairs to the gallery, while 
the mechanics sat below. The barracks, as I have said, 
were situated a little above Messrs. Chapman and Co.'s 
warehouse, and further down (from the Bridge) on the right- 
hand side, at the comer of Queen and Albert Streets, the 
stockyard once stood, used by the prisoners for yoking 
up the working bullocks. Then, on the bank of the river, 
opposite the present Ice Works, the Government saw-pits 
stood, and at Roma Street Station, in the hoUow +here, 
the convicts made the bricks. 

When my father was nine or ten years old, he saw the 
first execution by hanging in Brisbane — that of two aboriginals, 
who were found guilty of the murder of the surveyors, 
Staplyton and Tuck. The execution took place at the 
Windmill, which was fixed up for the occasion. After it 
was over a prisoner, taking young " Tom " by the hand, 
drew him along to have a look in the cofiin. Stooping, he 
pulled the white cap from the face of the dead blackfeUow, 
exposing the features. The eyes were staring, and the 
open mouth had the tongue protuding from it. The horror 
of the ghastly sight so frightened the child that it set him 
crying, and he could not get over it nor forget it for long after- 
wards. As a man he remembers it still. 

While talking of these days I may mention the story 
told of the planting of prepared rice. This was done in 


Logan's time by Mr. Peter Spicer, the superintendent of con- 
victs. My father has often heard his father laughing and 
telling the tale as a joke to the early squatters. The land 
prepared for the rice was a swamp, which extended from 
Bulimba to Newstead, and doubtless there are those who 
remember the drains on this land. After all the trouble, 
because the rice did not come up, the land was declared to 
be unsuitable for the growing of that crop ! 


Mount Petrie — " Bushed " —The Black Tracker — Relic of the Early Days — 
Andrew Petrie's Tree — Early Opinion of the Timbers of Moreton Bay — 
An Excursion to Maroochy — First Specimens of Bunya Pine— First on 
Beerwah Mountain — " Recollections of a Rambling Life " — Mr. Archer's 
Disappointment — Another Excursion — A Block of Bunya Timber — 
" Pinus Pelriana " — Less Title to Fame— Discoveries of Coal, etc. 

^T has, of course, been recorded how in 1838 
Mr. Andrew Petrie got lost in the bush with the 
then new Commandant, Major Cotton. They 
*went out on a visit of inspection to Limestone» 
accompanied by Dr. Alexander (the medical officer to the 
28th Regiment), an orderly, and a convict attendant. Travel- 
ling up by boat, they reached Limestone (Ipswich) without 
event, and on the return trip Mr. Petrie suggested to the 
Commandant that they should journey through the bush 
to Redbank to see the sheep station formed there. This 
was done, and on the way some new specimens of timber 
were discovered by my grandfather, whose taste for exploring 
was therefore aroused, and he again proposed a lengthening 
of the trip. This time it was to Oxley Creek, where convict 
sawyers were at work. All went well until, after leaving 
the latter place, the party got "bushed" in the thick forest, 
in an attempt to come out on the river, where they had 
instructed the boat to wait for them. The boat did wait, 
and waited till her occupants grew weary ; then went on to 
the settlement to report the new turn events had taken, 
and search parties were sent out. 

In the meantime the " lost sheep " wandered about for a 
couple of days and nights ; then, on the third day, coming to a 
mountain, Mr. Petrie ascended it, hoping to be able to see 
then where they were. He was successful, and they managed 
after that to find their way to the river, coming out near 
the present Lytton. Here my grandfather (he could not 


swim) proceeded to make a raft of dry logs to cross the river ; 
but, while in the midst of this, one of the search parties 
with a black tracker came up, and immediately after a boat 
belonging to the Government happened to pass, which took 
the exhausted party back to the settlement. A good deal of 
excitement was caused over this event, for it was thought 
that the travellers had met with Logan's fate, guns being 
fired, and black trackers employed, for so long, all without 

The search party, which came up with the lost ones while 
the raft was being made, told them how the black man {" Tal- 
lin-gal-lini ") had followed their tracks. He seemed to know 
Grandfather's from the others, and once, coming on a certain 
place, called, " Look here ! Mr. Petrie been stand and shoot 
bird !" and proceeded to show the way that gentleman had fired 
off the gun, standing with it to his left shoulder. Mr. Petrie 
always held a gun so, but was nevertheless a good shot. 
He thought it wonderful how the black man had noticed, 
for it was quite true ; he had shot a swamp pheasant at the 
place described. " Tom " often heard his father speak of 
this time afterwards, saying how strange it was that the 
tracker should know the position in which he stood, and 
declaring that the swamp pheasant was very sweet, but 
hardly a mouthful among them all ; they were tired and 
very hungry. The hill from which Mr. Petrie found his 
bearings as regards the Brisbane River was afterwards called 
Mount Petrie, a name it still is known by. With reference 
to this, some years ago, the " Brisbane Courier " contained 
the following : — 

" Mr. Thorn drew the attention of the Belmont Board at 
Wednesday's meeting to the fact that there was a tree lying 
on the summit of Mount Petrie, Mr. Prout's property, which 
bore a relic of the early days. The tree had a scarf cut out' 
and in its place there was carved the name ' A. Petrie, 1838., 
This was the father of Mr. T. Petrie, of North Pine, and the 
grandfather of the present member for Toombul. Mr. Thorn 
thought the relic ought to be in the Museum, and for this 
purpose moved that Mr. Prout be written to, asking permission 
to cut and remove the portion of the tree referred to. Mr- 


\To /ace /. .'-fS. 


Lees seconded the motion, which was unanimously agreed to." 

A trigonometrical station was built on Mount Petrie, and 
Mr. Andrew Petrie' s tree was cut down to make room for the 
beacon. In 1896, when the board sought the tree, it had just 
been burnt by bush fires. The writer is indebted to Mr. Lees 
for a rough sketch of the tree while standing. 

In Mr. Andrew Petrie's explorations he found many new 
specimens of timber. Says Dr. Lang, on page 135 of his book, 
" Cooksland " : — 

" I shall enumerate a few of the more important species of 
the timber of Moreton Bay, with notanda, illustrative of the 
qualities, localities, and uses, for which I am indebted in great 
measure to Mr. Andrew Petrie, the able and intelligent 
superintendent of Government works at Moreton Bay, while 
that part of the territory was a penal settlement." 

Dr. Lang speaks first of the Araucaria Cunninghami, 
or the Moreton Bay pine. He ends his description by saying : 
" There are two varieties of this pine — that of the mountain, 
and that of the plains or alluvial flats on the banks of rivers. 
Of the former of these varieties, Mr. Petrie, who first observed 
its superior qualities, states that it is little inferior to the 
Bunya Bunya pine. It is weU adapted for masts and spars' 
and grows nearly as large as the bunya ; no sap or knots 
to injure the spars." 

Secondly, Dr. Lang speaks of the Araucaria Bidwelli, or 
the Bunya Bunya pine, and he again quotes from his friend. 
He writes : — " ' This tree,' observes Mr. Petrie, ' grows 
to an immense height and girth. I have measured some ordin- 
ary sized trees, one hundred and fifty feet high, and about 
four feet in diameter. They are as straight and round as 
a gun barrel. The timber grows in a spiral form, and would 
answer admirably for ship's masts of any size. This pine 
bears a great strain traversely, one of its superior qualities ; 
also there is no sap wood nor knots in the barrel, the lateral 
branches being never above two or three inches in diame- 
ter, and growing from the outer rind of the tree. Jhe 
fruit of this pine is a large cone or core, about nine by 
six inches, and covered with small cones, similar m appear- 
ance to a pineapple. It is these small nuts that the blacks 


eat ; they travel two or three hundred miles to feed 
on the fruit. It is plentiful every three years. The timber 
grows in latitude twenty-five and twenty-six degrees, 
and about sixty miles in longitude. It is not known at 
present to grow anywhere else. -It grows plentifully in this 
latitude. I was the first person who risked my life with 
others in procuring the first plants of this tree, and Mr. 
Bidwell was some years after me.' " 

Dr. Lang next writes of the red cedar, and tells how in the 
prisoners' time, the Government had it all cut down to give 
employment to the convicts, and large quantities went to 
waste. Then he quotes yet again from Mr. Petrie : 

" ' Iron Bark. — This tree grows plentifully in the forest, 
and is suitable for house or shipbuilding, and is a valuable 

" ' Blue Gum. — ^This is another valuable hardwood timber, 
and is well adapted for all kinds of carpentry work. 

" ' Box. — ^This timber is very suitable for all agricultural 
implements, and for many other purposes. 

" ' Rose or Violet Wood. — ^This is a valuable timber, 
and is suitable for gig shafts, etc., being similar to our lance- 
wood at home. The aborigines make their spears of this 
wood, and they know the art of straightening them when 

" ' Silk Oak.— ^This is a very beautiful tree, and the timber 
is well adapted for the sheathing of vessels, and many other 
useful purposes. 

" ' Forest Oak. — Known also by the name of beefwood ; 
suitable for tool handles, bullock yolks, etc. It is used 
principally for firewood. 

" ' Tulip Wood. — ^This wood is suitable for fancy, cabinet, 
and turning work. It grows in the scrub. The tree appears 
like a cluster of Gothic columns. 

" ' There are a great many other species of valuable timber 
in this district,' observes Mr. Petrie, ' that I have not described, 
not having specimens to give you. Logwood and Fustic 
have been procured here. The timber trade wiU form one 
one of the principal branches of commerce. I also send 


you a small sample of the native gums. Gums could be 
procured in this district in considerable quantities.' " 

It is interesting to compare the first opinions formed of 
the timbers of Moreton Bay with those of the present day. 
Mr. Petrie was correct in his prophecy that " the timber 
trade will form one of the principal branches of commerce." 
We will now follow him in his adventures whilst obtaining 
specimens of the Bunya Bunya pine. The exact date of 
his discovery of the tree is not remembered, but several 
years after he gave a Mr. Bidwell specimens, and that gentle- 
man forwarding them to England, got the credit of the 
discovery, for the tree was named after him — Araucaria 

During an excursion to Maroochy in those early years 
Mr. Petrie succeeded in procuring what has been spoken 
of as " the first specimens of Bunya pine seen by those in the 
settlement." " From the plants he brought with him," 
says Mr. Knight, " which were obtained at considerable 
risk, owing to the unfriendly attitude of the blacks, may 
be said to have sprung many of the fine speciniens now to be 
seen about Brisbane and Sydney." On this excursion 
he was accompanied by his son John (so well known after- 
wards in Brisbane), two convicts, and two native blacks 
as guides — " Tunbur " and " Dundawaian." They also had 
with them a pack bullock, which carried the rations and 
blankets. Mr. Petrie got specimens of different kinds of 
timber besides the Bunya, and years afterwards, when his 
son " Tom," travelled with the blacks to their feast of the 
Bunya season, they showed the young fellow where his father 
had been (between Dulong and Razor Back), and the direction 
he took through the scrub. 

On the return from this trip, Mr. Petrie camped at the 
foot of Beerwah Mountain, for he was anxious to ascend 
it and take observations from the summit. (He always- 
carried his instruments with him.) He tried to get a black- 
fellow to climb also, but in vain, for the man declared that 
should such a thing be done the spirit who lived at the top 
of the mountain would kill him. John Petrie, therefore, 
accompanied his father, and they carried with them a bottle 


of water, reaching the top after great difficulty. Mr. Petrie 
took bearings for the assistance of the surveyors, who were 
then commencing a trigonometrical survey, and after a good 
look round and a rest, he wrote his name, with date attached, 
on a slip of paper, and corking this up in the now empty 
bottle, placed it safely under a rock, and descended to the 
camp. (In after years John Petrie called his house on Gregory 
Terrace " Beerwah.") 

The next person who climbed Beerwah was Mr. Burnett, 
the Government Surveyor (after whom the Burnett River 
was named), and he also put his name in the bottle. Several 
others have been up since. The story of the bottle was told 
my father by Grandfather years after the event, when the 
old gentleman was blind. The blacks had a strange idea 
about that same blindness — they declared that the spirit of the 
mountain had caused it in order that Mr. Petrie would be 
for ever afterwards unable to see his way up again. 

I have already quoted from a book written by Mr. T. 
Archer — " Recollections of a Rambling Life " — and now 
add the following extract, which is of interest, here : — 

" Before finally ' squatting ' in this unpromising land, 
we made some efforts to discover something better by making 
excursions into the surrounding country. I set off on foot 
one day on one of these search expeditions, accompanied 
by Jimmy, and a native of the country named ' Jimmy 
Beerwah,' who could speak a little ' dog English,' or black, 
fellow slang, having been occasionally at the German Mission, 
near Brisbane. He led us ten or a dozen miles eastward 
through thickly- timbered and very poor country, when 
there appeared ahead of us a huge isolated sugar-loaf mountain, 
presenting an apparently inaccessible wall of bare rock. 
When we reached the foot of it I sat down on a stone, thinking 
our adventures for that day were over, but ' Jimmy Beerwah '' 
continued to advance, making use of some crevices and pro- 
jections to haul himself upwards, and beckoning to us to 
follow. Not to disgrace my Norwegian training as a cragsman, 
I did so, and the other Jimmy brought up the rear, and never 
have I forgotten the magnificent view that met our gaze, 
when, after half-an-hour's scramble, we reached the top. 


Nearly the whole of the Moreton Bay district lay spread out 
beneath us, and about a dozen miles to the eastward of us 
was ' the sea, the sea, the open sea,' glittering in the sunlight, 
with Briby's Island, Moreton Island, and Moreton Bay 
to the South, and a hundred miles of coast, stretching away 
to the north. For two years I had not beheld this, my 
favourite element, and was delighted to see it once more ; 
but Jimmy, who had never before seen a sheet of water 
bigger than Wingate's Lagoon, was transfixed with astonish- 
ment, and stood staring at it in mute admiration, though 
he was far too proud to give vent to his feelings by indulging 
in undignified gestures like his more unsophisticated and 
barbarous countrymen on their first introduction to a flock 
of sheep. I had begun the ascent of that mountain laying 
the flattering unction to my soul that I was the first white 
man to accomplish the feat, but when about half way up, 
I began to notice indications of whites having been before 
me, in sundry scratches on the rocks that could have been 
made only by the nailed soles of boots, and what was my 
disgust, on attaining the pinnacle, to discover a caim of 
stones containing a bottle in which was a scrap of paper 
with the names of Andrew Petrie, and John Petrie (his son), 
and one or two others written on it in pencil ; this was a 
mortifying discovery, but one that had to be borne with 
becoming resignation. The name of the mountain was 
Beerwah, and it was the highest and most westerly of a cluster 
of peaked hills, scattered irregularly between it and the sea, 
called the Glass House Mountains. Our guide, ' Jimmy 
Beerwah,' had probably that name bestowed on him by 
Mr. Petrie, the Government Engineer at Brisbane, for guiding 
him and his party to the top of the mountain shortly before 
our arrival. ' Jimmy Beerwah,' no doubt, tried to explain 
this to us, but our ignorance of the Moreton Bay blacks' 
slang prevented us from understanding him." 

The writer came across Mr. Archer's book after describing 
Mount Beerwah's ascent by Mr. Andrew Petrie. It will 
be seen that the latter climbed with his son without the assist- 
ance of a blackfellow, but perchance " Jimmy Beerwah " 
was the black who refused to climb on that occasion. 


This " Jimmy Beerwah " was, my father says, a regular 
messenger man among the blacks. He carried messages from 
tribe to tribe by means of the usual notched stick. A 
messenger could travel an5rwhere with safety, going unharmed 
even amongst hostile tribes. 

Another time my grandfather journeyed from Brisbane 
to where Caboolture is now, to obtain a block of timber 
from a Bunya pine. This time he had with him the same 
blackfellows, two or three convicts, and his son John. The 
first night they camped at North Pine, where the " kippa " 
ring was then, and, of course, roimd about was all wild forest 
— no roads to Caboolture, nor bush tracks even. Long 
afterwards, when my father went to live at the Pine, the 
aborigines showed him just where his father had camped — 
they said he had with him a bullock on which chains were 
put, " all same as ' croppies ' (prisoners), so that fellow not 
run away." 

The " kippa " ring at the Pine owned the curious native 
name of " Nindur-ngineddo," which means a " leech sitting 
down." The larger ring was made just where the present 
road is opposite the blacksmith's shop, and the roadway to 
the smaller one (where the travellers camped) ran up behind 
the shop to the top of the ridge, where in the paddock behind 
" Murrumba " even yet a part of the ring and roadway can 
be seen. 

When Mr. Petrie and his companions had reached the 
Caboolture River they had to go up it a little way in order 
to be able to cross with the pack-bullock — the pine they 
were in quest of stood on the north bank. Arriving at the 
tree, they started to cut out a piece, and the blacks showed 
they did not like this at aU, complaining that they had piloted 
the party to see the tree, not to cut it. I have previously 
mentioned that the aborigines would not (in the very early 
days) even cut notches in a bunya pine, and on this occasion 
they almost cried in their distress, saying the tree would die 
of its wounds. Mr. Andrew Petrie had to assure them it 
would not, and he promised supplies of tobacco. So the 
deed was done ; and, after camping that night, the junk 
of wood was put on the pack-bullock next morning, and 


eventually Brisbane was safely reached. Mr. Petrie had the 
block of timber cut up, and some of it polished to show the 

Doubtless there are farmers still on the Caboolture River 
who remember seeing that old bunya tree with the piece 
cut from it. It stood close to where the bridge now crosses 
the river. 

Mr. Henry Stuart Russell, author of " Genesis of Queens- 
land," refers to the Bunya pine. He says : — 

" The Bunnia-Bunnia (Araucaria Bidwelli), which expresses 
so much in aboriginal traditions, claims a few remarks before 
passing on from Wide Bay. 

" Andrew Petrie, who held the post of Foreman of Works, 
January, 1836, under the Government, Brisbane, was the 
first white intelligent discoverer of this tree, sometimes, 
I think, in 1838. Under the guidance of some blacks, he had 
visited a spot on which it grew,took a drawing of it, and brought 
in a sample of the timber, the finding of which, and his opinion 
as to its value, he at once reported. It got the name of 
' Pinus Petriana ; ' deservedly, I should have thought ; but 
not, it seemed, in accordance with the manorial rights of red- 

Mr. RusseU then speaks of meeting (shortly after returning 
from Wide Bay in 1842) a Mr. BidweU, " an attache to the 
Botanical Society in London," in search of Bunya plants 
to send to England. He sent three, two of which Mr. Russell 
afterwards saw growing there. The latter adds : — 

" Being reported in this fashion, it became known, de 
riguer, as the ' Araucaria Bidwilli ' for all time ; the true 
worker's — Petrie's — solid claim was outbid by the less 
title to fame. I can recollect cones of the Bunnia being sold 
at Covent Garden, London, for ten guineas each." 

Yet another extract from Mr. Archer's book : — 

" They (the blacks) were quiet and peaceable and not nearly 
so numerous as at Durandur, except in the bunya season, 
when they mustered in large numbers from great distances ; 
but then the bunya cones supphed them so amply with food 
that they were not tempted by hunger to supply themselves 
with animal food from our flocks. I need not describe 


to you the bunya tree, as you have all seen one growing 
in the Gracemere garden, where it thrives, though it is not 
a native of that district. The tree when in its native home is 
confined to a comparatively small space of country, beginning 
about Cunningham's Gap in the south and extending north- 
ward along the Main Range for about one hundred and 
fifty miles to the head of the Cooyar Creek, there a spur 
branches off from the Main Range eastward toward the 
coast, separating the waters of the Brisbane from those of 
the Mary River, and approaching the coast between the 
Glass House Mountains and the Mooroochie River, its length 
being about another one hundred and fifty miles. Along 
this range and all its spurs the bunya flourishes, and supplies 
(or suppUed) the blacks every third year with ample stores 
of food from its huge cones, larger than a man's head, and 
containing kemals as large as an almond. Its botanical 
name, the Araucaria BidwiUi, was given to it because Mr. 
BidwiU is supposed to be the first white man who brought 
it into notice. But this is a mistake. The tree was first dis- 
covered by Mr. Petrie, the Government Engineer, on his 
expedition mentioned above, when he ascended Mount Beer- 
wah, and found the Mooroochie River. He, however, was 
not a scientific botanist, and only reported his discoveries 
in the colonies, whereas Mr. BidwiH sent the cone to England, 
and thus got the credit of being the discoverer of the tree." 

In Mr. Andrew Petrie's diary of his trip to Wide Bay 
in 1842 (to be quoted later), speaking of that part of the 
world, he says : — " In this scrub I found a species of pine, 
not known before. It is similar to the New Zealand Cowrie 
pine, and bears a cone. It forms a valuable timber, etc." 
This evidently is the pine Agathis Robusta, known to the 
early blacks as " Dundardum " (Dundardoom). The white 
man has mispronounced it so — " Dundathu." 

An article on Brisbane by an unsigned writer, appearing 
in the " Town and Coimtry Journal " some time since, 
speaks of Mr. Andrew Petrie's discoveries, then adds : — 
" He was, in fact, so indefatigable in developing the natural 
resources of the district, and labouring for its welfare, 
that any attempt to write the story of Brisbane would be 


absolutely incomplete without reference to the pioneer 
Andrew Petrie and his descendants." With regard to his 
coal discoveries, Mr. J.J. Knight says : — " In several other 
ways did Mr. Petrie demonstrate the capabilities of the district, 
not the least important being the discovery of coal at Tivoli 
while on a visit to Redbank station. So impressed was he 
with the importance of this find that he sent two sample 
casks to Sydney ; it was tested, and pronounced highly satis- 
factory. At a later period, it may be mentioned, a tunnel 
was run into the hill, and a plentifvil supply obtained for the 
penal establishment. It may also be remarked that Mr. 
Petrie found, though some time after the discovery at TivoU, 
the black diamond at Redbank and Moggill, and mines 
at these places were in subsequent years worked by the 
veteran John WiUiams. The value of such discoveries was 
not whoUy apparent in those bygone days ; it is now that the 
trade has grown to such dimensions, and forms so important 
a part in the commercial worth, that we can realise their 
importance to the full." 


Journal of an Expedition to the "Wide Bay River" in 1842 — Discovery of 
the Mary — Extract from Mr. Andrew Petrie's Diary — Encountering the 
Aborigines — Bracefield — Same Appearance as the Wild Blacks— Davis — 
"Never Forget His Appearance" — Could Not Speak His " Mither's 
Tongue " — Blackfellow with a Watch — Mr. McKenzie's Murdered 
Shepherds — Frazer Island — Mr. Russell Sea-sick. 

pN 1842, Mr. Andrew Petrie discovered the Mary 
River. On this trip he was accompanied by 
Mr. Henry Stuart Russell, the Hon. W. Wrottesley, 
'(third son of Lord Wrottesley), and Mr. Jolliffe. 
Five prisoners of the Crown formed the boat's crew, and 
two aborigines belonging to Brisbane made up the party. 
They left in an old Government boat called a " gig," and 
were away about a month. The trip was a most eventful 
one, and I cannot do better than give an extract from an 
old diary which my grandfather kept in those days, and 
which reads as follows : — 

" Wednesday, 4th May, 1842 : Left Brisbane town at 
daybreak ; pulled down to the first flat (Breakfast Creek) ; 
set sail ; wind from the south-west ; made the north end of 
Bribie's Island Passage at dusk ; could not distinguish ,the 
passage. Lay at anchor and slept in the boat till daybreak. 

" 5th : Made sail for the River Marootchy Doro, or the 
Black Swan River ; arrived there at two o'clock, but was afraid 
to enter, it being low water at the time, and a heavy surf 
on the bar. Made way for Madumbah Island, distant about 
two mUes from the river, but could not affect a landing, 
on account of the surf. Set sail for Bracefield Cape, and 
arrived shortly after sunset in the bay or bight. There was 
a very heavy swell, which made it dif&cult landing. Before 
leaving the boat we were surprised to see twenty or thirty 
aborigines running along the beach, coming to meet us. 
I made signs to them to carry us ashore, and they immediately 


jumped into the water up to their arm-pits. I was the first 
who mounted their shoulders. They appeared bold and 
daring, and I immediately suspected that this must be the 
place where several shipwrecked seamen had been murdered 
by these black cannibals. Little did I think at the time 
that the one who carried me ashore was the principal murderer. 
The moment he put me off his shoulders he laid hold 
of my blanket, but I seized him and made him drop it. He 
then took hold of a bag of biscuit, and would have taken 
it away had I not taken strong measures to prevent him. 
There were no guns on shore, and those on board were not 
loaded, so I called for my rifle, and, loading it, kept them at 
bay, and at the same time made them carry our luggage 
on shore. We then gave them a few biscuits, and ordered 
them off to their camp, retaining the murderer and another, 
and kept regular watch all night, each of us taking an hour 
in turn. During supper I made enquiries after " Wandie " 
(the bush name of the runaway Bracefield), and was informed 
by the natives that he was only a short way off. 

" 6th : Early this morning I despatched our two blacks 
and one of the strange ones with a letter to Bracefield. He 
could not read, but one of the blacks mentioned my name 
to him when he gave him the letter, and he started instantly 
to join us, accompanied by three of his tribe — ^his adopted 
father and two of his friends. About eleven o'clock the black 
observed them coming about five miles off, and Mr. Joliffe and 
I, also Joseph Russell (one of our crew), and the blackfellow 
went along the beach to meet them. Bracefield, when 
we met him, had the same appearance as the wild blacks ; 
I could only recognise him (as a European) from having 
known him before. When I spoke to him he could not answer 
me for some time ; his heart was full, and tears flowed, and 
the language did not come readily to him. His first expression 
was to thank me for being the means of bringing him back 
to the society of white men again. He was anxious to hear 
about the settlement, and to know whether anything would 
be done to him ; I assured him that no punishment would 
be inflicted on him, but rather things would turn to his ad- 
vantage. On coming along to our camp, Bracefield said 


to me, ' I suppose, sir, you are not aware that the black 
you have got with you is the murderer of several white men.' 
The moment the man observed us talking about him he darted 
off into the bush in an instant, just as I was looking round 
at him. The men at the camp were very kind to Bracefield, 
got him washed, gave him clothing, and something to eat 
and drink, and he felt himself a different being. After 
dinner I took him up some adjoining lulls, which I named 
after him and his friend, the blackfellow, who gave me the 
names of the different mountains. This bay or inlet has 
a river in the bight, which forms several large lakes, or sheets 
of water. A few miles inland from one of these lakes, Mrs. 
Frazer (wife of Captain Frazer, of the Stirling Castle), was 
rescued from the blacks by Bracefield, and conveyed to the 
boats which were anchored at the same place where we en- 

" 7th : Set sail about eight a.m., wind south-east, for 
Wide Bay, taking Bracefield with us ; landed about four 
o'clock ; distance thirty miles ; found it difficult to land 
owing to the heavy swell in the bight. After landing I found 
an excellent boat harbour ; we stayed there for the night. 
_" 8th (Sunday) : Went up on the Cape and Russell Hill 
to tcike some bearings, but the morning being so hazy nothing 
was satisfactory ; after returning, about eleven o'clock, 
we set sail over the bay with a south-east wind ; about 
three p.m. were in the passage leading into what is called 
Wide Bay. Landed for the purpose of getting a blackfellow 
that knew the river ; Bracefield despatched a black after 
him across Wrottesley Bay. He arrived about an hour 
before sundown. We sailed down the passage about six 
miles, and camped on Frazer's Island. 

" gth : Started at sunrise, taking the direction from the 
strange blackfellow. A dense fog continued until eleven 
o'clock. We steered north-west, and the wind springing 
up from the north-east, we continued sailing and pulling 
about among the islands, looking out for the river, but without 

" loth : Started early ; circumnavigated Gammon Isljind, 
and landed nearly where we started from. Observing a 
blacks' lire on Frazer's Island, I proposed making for tiiat 


point, intending to take bearings from the high land, from 
which I also thought I might see the river. While engaged 
in taking bearings, I descried the river accordingly. It 
is called the Wide Bay River. While I was on the hill, the 
rest of the party procured some fresh water, and tried all 
they could to persuade one of the natives to accompany 
us across to the river, but were not successful. They appeared 
afraid of us, more especially of Mr. Wrottesley's red shirt. 
We left the island about three p.m., reached the mouth 
of the River Barney at sundown, and encamped on Joliffe's 
Head. This point of land is of marine formation, being 
calciferous ironstone strata, is peculiarly laid up and inter- 
mixed ; lies at about an angle of seventy degrees, forming 
a ridge of land covered with scrub, along the north side. 
In this scrub I found a species of pine not known before. 
It is similar to the New Zealand Cowrie pine, and bears 
a cone. It forms a valuable timber. The blacks make their 
nets of the inner bark of this tree. 

" nth : Ascended the river about twenty miles ; next 
day, about twenty-five miles higher ; and the following day, 
about four miles — about fifty in all, where we found the 
navigation stopped with rocks and shingly beds. After we 
landed, I despatched Bracefield and our black " UUappah " 
(or " Alloppa "), to see if they could find any natives, but 
they did not succeed, blacks were afraid. I went in among 
the scrubs and procured some specimens of timber. " UUap- 
pah" speared a fine fresh water mullet, with flat mouth and red 
eyes, about two and a-half pounds weight. Shortly after, I 
-took a stroll, but without my gun, and quite alone, not expect- 
ing to meet with any blacks ; I had not gone above half-a-mile 
from the camp, when I heard the sound of natives, who 
appeared to be numerous. I immediately returned to the 
camp, and sent off Bracefield and the black to them. They 
were absent about an hour and a-half, and reported on their 
return that they were afraid to go near the blacks' camp — 
the darkies were so numerous. Bracefield was sure there 
were some hundreds of them ; he and the black were both 
very much frightened ; he told me he would require two more 
men with firearms. Bracefield informed me the man we were 
in quest of, Davis, or " Duramboi ' (his bush name), was 


sure to be with the tribe, on which I offered to accompany 
him and assist him in procuring him. Bracefield said it; 
would be much better for me to remain at the camp, as I 
should otherwise be running a great risk, and proposed, 
that two of our party, Clark and Russell, both prisoners 
of the Crown (convicts), should go along with him, as if 
they succeeded in bringing him into our camp, something 
might be done for these men in the way of mitigating their 
punishment. I assented, arranging with them to go to 
their assistance if we should hear their guns fire, and they 
went off accordingly about half-past four p.m., and about 
sundown returned with Davis. Bracefield behaved manfully 
in this transaction. He directed Russell and Clark to remain 
at a distance, whDe he and the blackfellow should steal 
in upon the strange blacks. Soon after the two got in 
among them, the two white men were observed, and the strange 
blacks immediately snatching up their spears, were running 
off to murder them, when Davis and Bracefield prevented 
them, and, no doubt, saved the lives of the pair. By this 
time Bracefield had been recognised by a great number of 
the Wide Bay blacks, who knew him, and told him (as the 
reason of their murderous intentions towards the two white 
men) that the white fellows had poisoned a number of their 
tribe. But Bracefield explained to them that we knew 
nothing of it whatever, and that we were come to explore 
the river and the country, and would not interfere with 
the blacks, provided that they did not meddle with the white 
men. If they did, there were a great many white men and 
firearms, and they would be shot immediately. I had written 
a note to Davis informing him that nothing would be done 
to him if he came in to the settlement. He had, however, 
during this time darted off to Russell and Clark, and gave 
himself up to them without waiting for Bracefield and the 
black, and when they appeared, he told Bracefield that he 
(Bracefield) had come to take him for the purpose of getting 
his own sentence mitigated ; in fact, insisted that he had, 
refusing to believe Bracefield's asseverations to the contrary, 
until the latter got into a passion and sang a war song at him. 
With that Davis bolted off towards us, our men being scarcely- 


able to keep pace with him. I shall never forget his appearance 
when he arrived at our camp — a white man in a state of 
nudity, and actually a wild man of the woods, his eyes wild 
and unable to rest for a moment on any one object. He 
had quite the same manners and gestures that the wildest 
blacks have got. He could not speak his ' mither's ' tongue, 
as he called it. He could not even pronounce English for 
some time, and when he did attempt it, all he could say was a 
few words, and these often misapplied, breaking off abruptly 
in the middle of a sentence with the black gibberish, which 
he spoke very fluently. During the whole of our conversation, 
his eyes and manner were completely wild, and he looked 
at us as if he had never seen a white man before. In fact, 
he told us he had nearly forgotten all about the society 
of white men, and had hardly thought about his friends 
and relations for these fourteen years past ; and had I or some 
one else not brought him from among these savages, he never 
would have left them. One of the first questions he asked 
me was about the settlement at Moreton Bay, which I gave 
him to understand was now a free settlement, and a very 
different place altogether from what it was when he left 
it fourteen years ago. I only guessed at the period from 
some of the prisoners mentioning about the time he absconded, 
as he had no idea of it himself, and could not tell what time 
he had been in the bush. At the same time I assured him 
that no punishment would be inflicted on him for absconding. 
" I then told Davis it was my intention to proceed to 
Baphal (Bopple), an adjoining mountain, but he strongly 
advised me not to attempt this, for if we divided our party, 
the men that we left at the boat would all be murdered 
before we returned, as there were some hundreds of blacks 
at their camp who could surround the party and kill them 
all. He told me we would require three or four men to keep 
watch during the night, for in all probability they would 
then attack us. At the same time he asked if I would allow 
him to go back and remain with the blacks for the night, 
and he would try and make it all right with them ; he pledged 
his word he would return to us by daybreak. I told him 
by all means to go, and we would wait for him. He said 


the blacks were determined to attack us, as they would have 
revenge for the poisoning of their friends at some of the stations 
to the South. Davis then bade us good night, and left us. 
The greater number of our party, mostly all except myself, 
never thought he would come back, or, if he did, they thought 
it would be heading the blacks against us. This made 
our party very timid, and I therefore took what I thought 
the most prudent plsm, which was to put everything in the 
boat and sleep on board, keeping a regular watch all night. 
The men and ourselves would have been so much fatigued, 
and knowing some of our party would not prove firm, and were 
not accustomed to firearms, we concluded it must be the best 
plan to camp in the boat. We were then in a position to 
defend ourselves, although hundreds had attacked us. We 
kept watch all night ; some of us did not sleep much, we 
were aU prepared for them. At daybreak I ordered three 
musket shots to be fired at intervals, to let Davis know 
that we were stUl in the same place, waiting his coming. 
About suiuise he joined us, acompanied by a black, who 
had possession of a watch belonging to a man, a shepherd 
of Mr. (now Sir Evan) M'Kenzie's, who was murdered by the 
blacks at Kilcoy station some time before. I gave the 
blackfeUow a tomahawk for the watch, according to promise. 
He appeared very much afraid of us. 

" Bracefield and the black, ' UUappah ' had accompanied 
Davis to the native encampment, and when they reached it, 
seeing our black so plump and fat, the Wide Bay natives 
asked Bracefield and Davis if the white men would take the 
part of the black, and attack them if they were to kUl and 
eat him. They both gave them to understand, in reply, 
that there were a great many white men and arms at the 
boat, and that in that case they would come and shoot them 
aU. At this time Davis was at a loss to know how the white 
men had got there. He imagined they came overland. 
The moment our men appeared before their camp they im- 
mediately said these were the men that killed their people to 
the southwcird, and instantly manned their spears and waddies, 
and would have sallied forth on the white men had Davis not 
prevented them. By this time Bracefield had stripped himself 


of the clothes we had given him, and he went in among them, 
and was immediately recognised by a great many, who invited 
him to sup with them and remain for the night. Davis and 
he made them beUeve that they would both return to them, 
and before leaving the camp Davis made them an oration, 
informing them that it was not to molest them, but to explore 
the river and the country, and to search for him (Davis), 
that the white men had come, and that they knew pothing of 
the poisioning of their friends. They intended no harm if 
they (the blacks) would not molest them, but if they did, 
they would all be shot by the whites. He also made them 
understand that their spears were nothing compared to our 
guns, and made them believe that the guns were something 
terrible. This had the desired effect, for in the morning, at 
the first report of the musket we fired, not a murmur was 
heard, the mothers making their young ones lie quiet lest we 
should hear them ; at the second report the greater part of 
them took to the scrub ; and on hearing the third report, 
they nearly all fled in the greatest consternation. Thus 
terminated our manoeuvres with the natives. 

" 14th : Descended the river about twenty miles. During 
our encampment we were all very much entertained with 
Davis's description of the manner of life and customs of the 
blacks, also he gave the account of the manner the blacks 
murdered the two white men (Mr. M'Kenzie's shepherds). 
They took a very ingenious mode, and one of the men must 
have suffered an awful death according to the description. 
Davis also described the way the blacks hunted the kangaroo 
and emu, which was very amusing. They make a play or 
game of this sport among themselves. Happening in the 
course of the evening to ask him if he could climb the trees 
with the wild vine, he started up instantly, threw off his 
clothes, and, procuring a vine, was at the top of one of the 
trees with it in a few minutes. His clothes were a great 
annoyance to him for some days. 

" i6th : Arrived at our former camp on Frazer's Island 
about 5 p.m. Conversed with a native of the island who 
knew Davis and Bracefield. We showed him how far our 
guns carried, which appeared to astonish him. There were 


six canoes with about twenty blacks, fishing out on a flat 
about three miles from us. JoUiffe fired off a musket ; they 
saw the ball hopping over the water towards them ; I believe 
it frightened them very much ; after consulting a Uttle they 
all took to their canoes, and made off from us. At this time 
Davis was conversing with the blacks on shore. 

" 17th : On continuing our journey, we were met by a great 
many natives, who were fishing at the mouth of the passage. 
I got Davis and Bracefield to inquire of them where the white 
men's bones were buried (those of Captain Frazer and Brown, 
of the Stirling Castle) ; they pointed round the point about 
two miles. Mr. Wrottesley and I landed and went along the 
beach. While travelling along with them we ascertained the 
bones were those of black men. When we arrived at their 
camp we saw three miserable old gins ; a blackfellow went 
into his humpy and brought out a dilly full of bones. We let 
him understand that it was the white fellow's bones we wanted; 
he told Davis they were a long way off on the main beach — 
about ten miles. We would have gone this far, but our time 
was up, and we had to return. Wrottesley bought a dilly 
from the natives for a fishhook, then we left them, and pro- 
ceeded across the bay to Cape Brown ; landed about 5 o'clock, 
got into that commodious boat harbour, remained there for 
the night. 

" The blacks are very numerous on Frazer Island ; there is 
a nut they find on it which they eat, and the fish are very 
plentiful. The formation and productions of the island are 
much the same as those of Moreton Island ; the timber is a 
great deal superior, and also the soil ; the cypress pine upon 
Frazer Island being quite splendid. The island is sixty miles 
long, by ten or twelve wide. 

" i8th : It blew very fresh from the south-west ; lulled 
towards evening. About 4 o'clock p.m., ordered everything 
into the boat, and in a short time were out at sea. After 
rounding Cape Brown there was a very heavy swell setting in 
from the southward, and it kept on increasing so much that 
we could not bear up to windward. Jolliffe lost one of the 
guns overboard. Going nearly four points off our course, we 
continued on till about 9 o'clock, when I ordered about-ship ; 


we were only about eight miles from Cape Brown. It was no 
use hammering about all night, and the breeze still increasing, 
we landed at our old camp about 11 o'clock. Next day set 
sail about 11 o'clock with a south-west wind. About three 
miles off Cape Brown the wind got more southerly. Continued 
about the same course and distance we did the night before. 
I thought it would be better to return, and it was fortunate 
we did, as the wind still increasing, and a very heavy sea on, 
we never could have reached Bracefield Head. We landed 
again in Honeysuckle Camp about 3 o'clock p.m.; ordered 
everything out of the boat to be cleaned and overhauled ; 
hauled the boat up on the beach ; the bilge water was smelling 
very badly. Mr. Russell and some of the boat's crew got 
quite sick, so much so that the former threw up his breakfast, 
and some of his chat went with it. Only a few ejaculations 
escaped his lips, a repetition of a beastly boat, a beastly sail, 
etc., during all the night and following days. 

" The Wide Bay River is navigable for a vessel drawing 
9ft. of water for about forty miles up. The country on its 
banks is a good sheep country, and the farther you proceed 
to the \yestward the better the land. The blacks informed 
me there is a river about ten miles beyond the Wide Bay River, 
and another more to the north-westward, and a third larger 
than all the others still farther to the westward, and pointed 
a long way into the interior to where the water came from. 
This last river we thought must be the Boyne. They also 
informed us that there was a beautiful country about forty 
miles from the Bahpal Mountain, extending quite to the ocean, 
and abounding in emus and kangaroos. According to their 
account, this country is thinly wooded." 


The Alteration of Historical Names — Little Short of Criminal — Wreck of 
the "Stirling Castle" — Band of Explorers — Sir George Gipps — Trip 
Undertaken in a " Nondescript Boat " — Mr. Russell's Details of the 
Trip — A Novel Cure for Sunstroke — Gammon Island — Jolliffe's Beard. 

=HIS whaleboat trip to Wide Bay, and Mr. Andrew 
Petrie's discovery of the river there, was recently 
referred to by Sir Hugh Nelson at a conference 
of the Royal Geographical Society, held at Mary- 
borough. The river discovered was known as the Wide 
Bay River for some years, but afterwards was christened 
the " Mary " in honour of Lady Fitzroy. Nowadays, following 
Mr. Andrew Petrie's diary, one fails to recognise all points 
of interest by the names given. With regard to this, Mr. 
Knight, in his description of the trip, says : — " On the follow- 
ing day the party reached a place named by Mr. Petrie 
Bracefield Cape, but during later years renamed Noosa. 
And it may here be remarked that it was little short of criminal 
to substitute the present names for those bestowed by this 
band of explorers." It was near Noosa that Bracefield or 
Graham (" Wandi " the blacks called him) was found, hence 
the name — Bracefield Cape. He was a convict who had 
deserted in Logan's time, and he it was who rescued Mrs, 
Frazer (wife of Captain Frazer, of the Stirling Castle) from 
the aboriginals. The wreck of the Stirling Castle (the boat, 
by the way, in which the Petries travelled from the old country 
some time previously) is ancient history now, and it will 
be remembered that Mrs. Frazer was obliged to live alone 
with the blacks until the time when Bracefield took her down 
to within a few miles of the settlement, and so was the means 
of her release. 

Mr. Henry Stuart Russell, one of " this band of explorers," 
refers to the naming of the different places. In one part he 
says : — 


" Of the cocist of the mainland between Cape More ton 
and Sandy Cape little had hitherto been known. No survey 
of it had under any close examination from seawards been 
made ; none whatever from landwards. Petrie being in 
the service of the Government, and acting under Sir George 
Gipps's instructions, considered himself authorised to name 
mountains, headlands, or any remarkable spot not yet dis- 
tinguished on a chart, as he thought fit, with the view of 
sending in his report, under which such designations would 
be printed on the Government maps. The low bluff which 
formed the southern and most eastern point of the sandy 
bay in which we were he called ' Bracefield's Head ' (now Noosa 
Head), being most suggestive of the occurrence which had 
so much preoccupied us of late. From a higher ground 
further back we could see several noteworthy eminences which 
we had remarked from the boat when following the cocist- 
line. Of these Bracefield told the native names, which were 
written down on the spot." 

It seems matter for regret that any of these names should 
have been tampered with, or that a true discoverer should 
in any way be overlooked. In those early times, however, 
many mistakes were made in different ways — of course, 
it could hardly be otherwise. With regard to Brisbane 
town, it may not be amiss to mention an instance here. 
Governor Gipps, when the town was about to be laid out, 
was not pleased with the surveyor's plans — the roads were 
too wide, cind too much land had been wasted in reserves 
for his taste ; consequently " the whole design had to be 
altered," says Mr. Knight. " This, it appears, was a common 
trick of Governor Gipps's " (still quoting Mr. Knight), " for 
in every other case where he had anjrthing to do with the 
laying out of a place he acted in exactly the same manner. 
His argument in favour of narrow streets was novel, if 
unsound — ^namely, that the buildings on either side of such 
thoroughfares would have the effect of keeping out the 
sun ! Mr. Andrew Petrie actually came to loggerheads 
with the Governor over the foolish proposition, and to 
mark his condemnation of the opinion of others, his Excel- 
lency ordered the width of all streets in Ipswich as well as 


in Brisbane to be reduced to sixty-six feet. Eventually 
the surveyors, after a good deal of trouble, were allowed 
to make the principal thoroughfares about eighty feet. 
Looking at Governor Gipps's grabbing propensities, it is a 
matter for wonder that the Queen's Park escaped being cut 
up into town lots." 

But to hail back to Wide Bay and the trip undertaken 
in what Mr. Russell terms a "nondescript boat." " Certainly,' ' 
he says, " when in the water, with her full burden, her 'mid- 
ship's rowlock was but a measured five inches above the 
water ; for I tried the distance afterwards. But I found 
that we could step two lug-sails and carry a bumpkin, stuck 
out for a bit of after canvas — that was a comfort." Mr. 
Joliffe being a sailor, was bound (Mr. Russell says) to laugh 

at the boat. 

How these gentlemen came to ioin Mr. Petrie on this trip 
happened in this wise. Mr. Russell was on the lookout 
for a fresh run for sheep, and so also was Mr. Joliffe. Mr. 
Russell had just determined to purchase a small craft or 
yawl, and start out, and was thinking over his plans, when 
Mr. Joliffe, bursting in upon him, informed him that Mr. 
Petrie had heard of his intention. 

"I've had a long yam with Petrie about your going, 
and I will tell you what he says : You've heard of that 
Bunnia-Bunnia which the blacks here talk so much about ; 
Petrie is the only white man who has looked for and found it ; 
he has a bit of its wood, you know ; it's called Petrie's pine, 
and mighty proud of his discovery he is. Well, the Governor 
gave him orders before he left to go to the river on which they 
say it grows most, and examine it thoroughly and report. 
A proclamation has been issued that no settlers are to encroach 
on its quarters, and no white man is to cut down any of it. 
Petrie says he must go at once ; the place is on the banks 
of a river, a little north of the river called the ' Morouchidor.' 
Petrie says that queer-looking oyster boat isn't fit for any 
sea ; he wants you to join him ; and his work, your own, 
mine, too, perhaps, may be knocked off by one trip." " What 
boat can we have, though ? " " Why, there is a five-oared 
kind of mongrel whale-boat, which was built by a prisoner 


here, in a fashion, which he will take. You know that there 
will be no more Commandants at Brisbane ; he will take 
five ticket men to pull, a mast to stick up, and a bit of a 
sail when the wind serves ; the boat is new and sound, whatever 
she looks Uke, the other thing's rotten." (" Genesis of 

And so this party set out, and, in spite ot many difficulties 
and hardships, surmounted all drawbacks, and in due course 
arrived safely back at the settlement again with their interest- 
ing addition in the way of numbers. 

Mr. Russell is amusing in some of his details of this trip. 
On the party's start out he begins to ask Mr. Petrie questions 
concerning the crew. When he finds that one man's name 
is Russell, like his own, he asks no more on that point. Later 
on, during the journey up, he loses his hat overboard, and 
on this account evidently gets a touch of the sun, for when 
the blacks carry the party ashore his head is spUtting, and 
intolerable pains creep through his limbs. Writing of it, 
he says : — 

" I suppose I was in some sort tortured by sunstroke ; 
that night was a horrible seal upon my recollections thereof. 
One of the men was trying to make me a head- covering 
out of some canvas ; but why should my limbs torment me ? 
Well, no explanation of the cause could have cured me, and 
thus I miserably stared the stars out of countenance with the 
help of the dawning day. My friends were alarmed, but could 
do nothing. Our two blacks were in such a ' funk ' that 
they kept me wakeful company throughout, though the whites 
watched in turn by pairs. 

" With the sun's return came that of the natives. After 
much gesticulation to the party, an old man squatted on 
his hams on the hot sand, and with a queer crone began 
to scoop out a hole with his hands alongside me. I took 
.little heed, until it had assumed, under his vigorous and 
odoriferous exertions almost the appearance of a shallow 
grave. As a man under his first ' flooring ' by seasickness, 
so was I absolutely careless of what was going on around. 
Petrie and others gravely looking on, rifle in hand, reassured 
me on one head, yet I could realise nothing. I believe I 


must have been fast becoming unconscious. What happened 
I can tell, however, now. When all was ready, I learnt 
that two younger natives had lifted me into the grave, divested 
of every rag on my back. Our own blacks had assured 
Petrie that the old man could put me on my legs again ; 
he was too anxious about me to repel their profiEered service, 
as long as there was no unreasonable means resorted to. 
Some large leaves of a water plant had been brought and 
placed over my head to protect it, and that again was raised 
upon the roll of my own clothes. Well, I remember the 
queer sensation of hot sand being shovelled by their wooden 
implements — ' eelamans ' — over me, up to the very chin. 
After that I knew nothing till I came to the sense of where 
I was. In fact, I seemed to wake up from a painful dream. 
I could move but my head. The leaves were lifted from 
my face, and the assemblage at first puzzled me. Arms had 
been packed in with the rest, and I was in a straight jacket 
of hot sand, pressed in a solid heap upon my carcass. But 
I felt no pain. The perspiration was still (for I was told 
it had been doing so for the last quarter of an hour) running 
in tiny rivulets from my head over my face into my eyes 
and ears. I was in a vapour furnace ! Quickly I was un- 
earthed, covered with blankets or anything that caught 
their eye, and fell fast asleep. When I woke — in about 
six hours — I was well ! Weak but terribly thirsty. I 
could have hugged the whole tribe in my gratitude — ^but they 
were all gone ! I could see that the minds of my compagnons 
de voyage were much reheved, especially that kind-hearted 
Scot, Andrew Petrie. Some efficient headgear had been 
manufactured for me in the meanwhile, to commemorate 
which the hummock at the point w£is named 'Russell's 
Cap.' " 

And so Mr. Russell goes on with the trip. He telis how 
they christened what is now Double Island Point " Brown's 
Cape," because Bracefield and the blacks assured them 
it was there that Brown, the mate of the Stirling Castle, 
had been killed and disposed of. Further on he describes 
a mist into which they were entrapped — " so dense that, 
except the water immediately about the sides of the boat> 


nothing out of it could be distinguished." Getting free from 
this at last, they fell into other difficulties, christened an 
island " Gammon Island," because, after leaving it, and 
pulling and sailing about in and out all over the place, they 
landed at exactly the same spot, much to Mr. Russell's 
disgust. He suggested the name as suitable to " his good 
Scotch friend " — Mr. Petrie — " who jotted it down with the 
ghost of a smile." 

In Mr. Petrie's diary he describes a point of land as " Jolliffe's 
Head." With regard to this, Mr. Russell says : — 

" JoUiffe's long, black beard had been an object of mirth, 
and, I must add, admiration, all the jaunt through, especially 
to the blacks. This new river-head which we were leaving,, 
and perhaps should never see again, tufted with that thick, 
glossy patch of dark pine brush, by some process associated 
itself with it, and down on the rough outline, the base of a 
future report, went under our official friend's hand, ' Jolliffe's 
Beard,' for its baptismal name. I wonder whether it is 
called so still ? Maybe it bears some later comer's." 


The Early-time Squatters — Saved by the Natives from Drowning — Mr. Henry 
Stuart Russell— " Tom " Punished for Smoking— " Ticket-of- Leave " 
Men — First Racecourse in Brisbane —Harka way — Other Early Race- 
courses — Pranks the Squatters Played — Destiny of South Brisbane 
Changed — First Vessel Built in Moreton Bay— The Parson's Attempt to 
Drive Bullocks — A Billy-goat Ringing a Church Bell — The First Elec- 
tion — Changing Sign-boards — Sir Arthur Hodgson — Sir Joshua Peter 

^HE finding of the famous Duramboi and the story 
of his fourteen years' adventures among the 
^^ aborigines has already been enlarged upon in 
many works. He said he was welcomed by the 
blacks as one of their number returned from the dead. When 
the white men were first seen by their dusky brethren they 
were all supposed to be ghosts or former black men come 
to life again. All the different tribes had a name for " ghost ; " 
for instance, with the Turrbal, or Brisbane blacks, it was 
" mogwi ; " with the Moreton Island tribe, " targan ; " 
Noosa tribe, " maddar ; " and with the Wide Bay natives, 
with whom " Duramboi " lived, the word was " makuran." 
I have already written of the landing of " Duramboi " 
and "Wandi" in Brisbane, and mentioned the excitement 
of the early time squatters over the event. These squatters 
came often to the old home on the Bight — Mr. Andrew 
Petrie's. That gentleman had a skilhon put to his house, and 
here they slept, and they were always very jolly and full of 
fun. Mr. John Campbell writing of these early visits of the 
squatters to Brisbane says, " There was no hotel in Brisbane 
then, but we, were kindly and eagerly invited by the of&cers 
residing there to stop at their houses — ^in fact, vieing with 
each other who should receive us. For myself, I went to 
the late Mr. Andrew Petrie's, and a friendship then com- 
menced between us which only ended with his life." 


My father used often to swim across from Petrie's Bight 
to Kangaroo Point with some of these squatters and two 
or three blacks. They went for the purpose of fishing there 
with lines. If they had good luck they would perhaps stay 
nearly all day. Often they caught lots of bream and flathead, 
and the natives would then carry these in dillies fixed to 
their heads back to the other side. One of the squatters 
was a Mr. Glover, and the blacks could not say his name, 
but called him " Blubber." 

One day in swimming homewards " Tom " got into a shoal 
of blubbers.and they stung him so frightfully that he could 
not swim. He called for assistance to the natives, and 
they only just came up in time, for he was sinking. 
Getting hold of the boy, they put him on the back of one 
fellow, and swam with him to the shore, thus saving his life- 
Landing, the native who had carried the burden turned 
and said to Mr. Glover, " My word ! Mr. Blubber, your 
brother very saucy fellow ! " 

Some of these blackfellows were very comical in their 
doings and sayings. There was another one of the name 
of " Billy Bing " (" Bing " meant father), and the squatters 
used to have great fun with him. He had a very large 
mouth, and would burst out laughing at them, then suddenly 
shut his mouth like a snuff box, and puU a long face. The 
squatters would nearly be ill laughing at this man, especially 
one gentleman, who would say, " For God's sake, take him 
out of my sight ! " This was Mr. Henry Stuart Russell, 
already referred to. Father remembers him well, and says, 
" He was a great man to laugh." He evidently had a keen 
sense of humour, and at times became quite powerless with 
laughter. He married a Miss Pinnock, niece of a Governor 
of Jamaica, and sister to Mr. P. Pinnock, of Brisbane, the 
late Sheriff. Strange that in after years Mr. Andrew 
Petrie's granddaughter (" Tom's " firstborn) should marry 
this same Mr. Russell's nephew, the present Major Pin- 

But to return. One day Mr. Russell said to Billy, " Here, 
Billy, come and have a glass of grog." And when he came, 
" Now, Billy, hold the glass so, and say, ' Here's good health. 


gentlemen.' " The squatters all stood round, and Billy, 
who could not say " health," took the glass, and this was 
his toast : " Gentlemen, here you go hell ! " Of course, 
this caused roars of laughter, indeed _some of the squatters 
were so overcome that they rolled about on the grass. Always 
just the mere sight of Billy was enough to cause amusement. 

Mr. Andrew Petrie had a slaughter-house put up in those 
days, so that he could have a sheep or bullock killed for 
meat — a lot of meat was used when the squatters were about. 
One day, my father remembers sitting in the killing-house 
talking to the butcher, and as he sat the youngster enjoyed 
a pipe he had got hold of, when suddenly in the doorway 
appeared his father. Grandfather never smoked himself, 
and he strongly disapproved of the habit in his young son. 
Many a thrashing " Tom " got for this same habit, but, alas ! 
it did not cure him. On this occasion he was caught and 
beaten soundly. His screams brought the butcher's wife, 
who put in a good word for the boy, who thus made off, 
still, however, holding firmly to his short pipe. So soon as 
ever he got into the bush he struck a light with his tinder-box, 
and had another smoke ! In those days there were no matches, 
and every one carried flint and steel and tinder-box. 

Feeling himself ill-used after this beating, " Tom " made up 
his mind to run away and go to the blacks. So next day 
he started out to Bowen Hills to their camp, and there, 
falling in with some of his blackboy playmates, they all 
occupied themselves in making a new humpy. Before 
dark he joined in a good meal of fish and crabs, and then 
when it was time to turn in, repaired with two or three black- 
boys to the hut they had made. " Tom " had a suspicion 
that some one might come after him, so he kept his boots 
on in case of an emergency. He remembers he had a new 
hat, and this he stuck up in the roof of the hut, so that it 
wouldn't get broken. Then he got under a 'possum rug. 

He had been there about an hour when suddenly he heard 
a great row — barking of dogs, and a running about and shout- 
ing of the blacks. All at once he felt his leg grabbed, and 
he was hauled out by his brother. He managed to get his 
hat, and then, just as his father came up, got away and ran 


off as fast as his legs could carry him all the way home. Going 
upstairs to his room, he stood there ready to climb out on to the 
roof should his father come up. However, he heard the 
arrival and the inquiry if he had come home, and then some 
one said he had better be left alone, so the boy ventured to 
go to bed. He was up betimes in the morning, and kept out 
of his father's way for a couple of days. My grandfather 
soon got over his anger though, and always forgave his son. 

The squatters in those days nearly all had Government 
" ticket-of -leave " men signed to them for a certain 
length of time. If they had a quarrel with a 
man, there was no taking him to court, but off 
would go their coats, and after a round or two master 
and man would shake hands, good friends again. They 
were mostly well-born, these squatters, and they were also 
gentlemen who enjoyed a piece of fun and mischief. Their 
bullock drays used to come down to Brisbane with wool, 
and these would be left on the south side, because, of course, 
there was no bridge or any other way of getting across. 
Beside these drays the squatters often left a cask of rum 
with the head knocked in, and a pannikin alongside, for 
any one who cared to help himself to a drink. They would 
swim their horses across behind the ferry boats. 

The very first racecourse in Brisbane was started by the 
squatters on the ground now occupied by the present Post 
Office, etc. I have before mentioned " The Old Woman's 
Factory." This building was empty when the Petries 
arrived in Brisbane, and there they Uved till their own house 
on the Bight was built, and afterwards it was used as a gaol 
and court house. Well, the course was from the corner 
of the old wall surrounding this building (just where the 
Telegraph Office now stands), down as far as Albert Street, 
and it was about here that a three-railed fence and a ditch 
some feet wide were jumped. Then the course continued 
round towards the Gardens, the same ditch and fence being 
jumped again lower down ; then up round by the R.C. 
Cathedral, and back to the corner of the wall. The ditch 
mentioned was cut as a drain to carry the water (for the 
land was swampy) into a small creek that ran into the river 


at the present Port Office wharf. The plax;e all round was 
fenced in in cultivation paddocks, where the prisoners worked. 

My father remembers well one race run on this course. 
Four horses started. When the foremost reached the first 
fence he tripped on the top rail (no hurdles then, of course), 
throwing his rider into the mud in the ditch. The young 
squatter got his nice leggings and all his fine jockey's rig-out 
in a beautiful mess. He, however, picked himself up, and 
catching his horse, mounted and was off again, although 
the others had jumped all right and were some distance ahead. 
The next jump was taken successfully, and the squatter 
overtook the three and passed them, winning eventually 
with a length to the good. There was great excitement 
and hurrahing at this. The horse's name was Harkaway, 
and he was a black animal with white feet. " The horses 
in those days were horses," says my father, " and could stand 
a three mile race with ease — they were no weeds. Most 
of the squatters carried the regular jockey's dress with them, 
and they were splendid riders." 

When people commenced to settle a little and build, a 
man named Greenyead built a house at South Brisbane, at 
Kurilpa (pronounced in English, Kureelpa) — ^what we now 
call West End. This man obtained a license for a public 
house, and the squatters then started a racecourse there. 
The next one was at Cooper's Plains, and the next at New 

Father remembers all sorts of pranks the young squatters 
used to play in those days. When they turned up at the 
old home on the Bight they slept on stretchers in the addition 
to the house, and when one of the number was found fast 
asleep by the others, he would be tied down and then quietly 
carried out into the bush one hundred yards away, and there 
left to the mercy of the mosquitoes. A watch would be 
kept till he called for help, then he was taken in again. The 
victim was generally one who did not care to join in the 
fun. He would know, however, that it was no use getting 
into a " scot," and he therefore took it all as a joke. 

It was not often in those days that a steamer came to 
" Moreton Bay," as Brisbane was then called ; so whenever one 


did come it caused quite a stir and excitement. The steamers 
always anchored at South Brisbane just below the present 
bridge. On the arrival of one, the squatters would go over 
to her at night and have some fun. Mr. Russell would 
sometimes borrow a dress and bonnet from " Tom's " mother, 
and, dressing up, he would then go off arm-in-arm with another 
squatter, as man and wife, across to the steamer. When 
there, they would hoist all sorts of things to the masthead 
in place of the flag, and the skipper would laugh, too, and 
enjoy the fun. Generally the boat would be cleared of all 
" grog " before she left for Sydney again. 

On the 15th May, 1847, the first vessel built in Moreton Bay 
w£is launched. She saw the light at Petrie's Bight, where 
the Howard Smith wharf is now, and was a two-masted 
vessel, with both ends pointed — no square stem. The 
laimching ceremony caused quite an excitement, and 
amongst those who witnessed it were the mihtary and 
a party of ladies. To Miss Petrie (Andrew Petrie's 
only daughter), a tall, dark, handsome girl of some 
fourteen summers, fell the honour ot christening the vessel, 
and it is not surprising to know that her brother " Tom " 
(two years older, who was in everything), was one of those on 
board at the time. Miss Petrie stood on the shore with a 
bottle of champagne in her hand attached to the bow of the 
boat by a string, and as the vessel sUd into the water she 
threw the bottle from her, christening the craft " Selina." 
In the meantime, however, the sailors, thinking how lovely 
a drink of champagne would be afterwards on the quiet, 
had contrived a trick, and the bottle did not break, but this 
was noticed, and a crowd gathering round Miss Petrie, got 
her to go out in a boat and finish her work. The Selina 
slid into the water with such an impetus that she would 
have gone right across to Kangaroo Point had the anchor 
not been dropped to stop her. After she weis rigged and 
finished up she started out for the Pine River, and having 
got a cargo there of cedar logs, left for Sydney, her builder, 
a Mr. Cameron, being in charge. But the Uttle vessel was 
doomed, in spite of the brightness of her birth, and the crew 
were never heard of again, For a long time the whole thing 


remained a mystery, then on the 20th October, 1848, she 
was found on the beach at Keppel Bay, water-logged, and 
with her mast cut out. The cargo was quite undisturbed, 
and it was thought that as the crew only had enough provisions 
to take them to Sydney they had set out and perished at sea 
through starvation or otherwise. " Poor Mr. Cameron," 
my father says, " was a very nice man, and as far as I can 
remember, he had with him another shipwright and two 

While on this subject. I may mention an incident which 
happened later on, and which changed the destiny of South 
Brisbane. A tree which grew near the spot mentioned, was 
used as an anchorage for the steamers — that is, they were 
tied to the trunk. A Scotchman, who owned the land, 
one day for some reason or other, objected to his tree being 
made use of any longer, and he cut the rope by which a Sydney 
steamer was tied. After that another place had to be found, 
and the steamers went down the river to the north side of 
the stream, so spoiling the chance South Brisbane had of 
first place. This tree was very large in the trunk, but some 
of the branches were looped to make room for the balcony of 
a stone hotel near by. 

The following is a yam my father remembers the squatters 
telling one another ; whether it was founded on fact or not 
he cannot say : — 

A man was once driving a bullock-team eithra: to or from 
Brisbane, laden heavily with wool or provisions. The roads, 
of course, were rough in those days, and, coming to a creek, 
the bullocks would not pull hard enough to get over it. So 
the man began to swear at them, using all the " swears " 
he knew. While he was in the midst of this a parson rode up, 
and, said he to the bullock driver, " My good man, you should 
not use those words ; it is very wrong, and bad words won't 
make the bullocks pull any better." The driver threw down 
his whip. " You try and see if you can drive them, sir," 
he said. So the parson dismounted, and the bullock driver 
held his horse. Then began a series of pattings and coaxings, 
and the bullocks doubtless were flattered at the pretty names 
they were called. They, however, swerved to this side 


wmained a mjBtery, then on the 20th October, 1848, she 
was found on me beach at K^pel Bay, v- n. ■ KtRgftd, iind 
with her mast cut out. The c^.rgc^ was quite undsfiftorbKl, 
and it was thought that as ihe cr cw only had in^ rogh pro', - 
to take them to Sydiu", Hwsy had set out .jg .w-^slje*? «tM« 
through starvation or 01 tierwiwe. " Ffl ffj Mr <.'*iH<--f ■ 
my father says, " wa* a vrn, i^u'ir m«a. a|# as Jar ;js i ;«ft 
iwnember, he h.>.<} with .|i'p-; a.;!(».l!fj .t^^wmtght ■.t--^ jwe 
sulors." I a I 

While on this subj«-cs. i t?!»v vn<-n?.!c;; ^g it!- sdiml. wilip*: 
happened later or. ijuri'j '••^i-f. h chaKs;«<; ■ 'j^dtiwiiny of i-x «th 
Brisbane. A tre* v, iju'n fg'-> ne^ai th*" r;' S mentioned, was 
used as an .:; n- h'-irn^r }^-ir 'jSj^-ajVi'T-.- ~^'4?at is, they were 
tied to the trwfU A S/oti hiig; .vho >owned the land, 
one day lor soiw feajiotj or .'h'.-^-, -^hief^ted to his tree being 
aaade use ns atjy 1- i,ger, AT«t is. a the rope by which a Sydney 
steamer was tied ,kiu- limt another place had to be found, 
and the steanrif^s wni( doMu tBfe^vergt$>athe north side of 
the stream, so .si>i!if> .;; thr. chai^ce So6|l| Brisbane. had of 
first place. Ths • 'r«e was very Is^ge in«^ trunk, btiit some 
of the branchefi were hyopad to msSke rpl^Sf or the balcony of 
a stonf hotel near by, g S jSj| g 

The|followinf k a yam my mther r^^^^ers the stttiatters 
)|^ing^one another ; whether it ^as fi^agiEed on facfor not 
he caiuiot say :— "^ §5^1 

A n^n was once driving a l5ullock-lBft9iP| either to or from 
Biisbs^e, laden heavily with wool or |iJg^g||^ons. The roads, 
of cotuse, were rough in those days, and,* diWJfiif «^' k^ereek.'B^*' 
the btflocks would not pull hard enou^ t(H.getriBansittt>i«.LSi(ftLe- 
the niui began to swear at ^em, using. |1| the " swears " 
he k&dtir. While he was in th^i|ids%of thSs^^.parson rode up, 
and, s^d he to the bullock drif^, " |ly go|>|Snan, you shotid 
Bot use those words ; it is ve|3|wr^g, *atl||>ad words won't 
auke the bullocks puH any beft|Br."i Therli^ver threw down 
feds whip. " You try and se| jjf ypa ca^|<^ve them, sir," 
lie said. So the parson disimginte^, and Ihe bullock driver 
hdid his horse. Then began a series bf pattings and coaxings, 
and the bullocks doubtless were flattered at the pretty names 
Uttey were called. They, however, swerved to thfe side 


and to that, but they would not pull. The parson tried a 
long time ; and only at last when his patience must surely 
have given out, " Damn the bullocks ! " he said, and fling- 
ing aside the whip he had gently stroked them with, mounted, 
and rode off. Always afterwards this particular bullock- 
driver felt he had absolute freedom to swear as he liked. 

One night the squatters got hold of a billy-goat, and, 
tying him to the bell rope of the Church of England in William 
Street, " planted " to see the fun. " Billy " commenced to- 
ring the bell furiously, then the police came along to see 
what was what, and nearly all the inhabitants of the place — 
— there weren't so many — came running from all directions. 
As the goat moved about, to try and get free, the bell would 
ring, and the police were very active in running round the 
building to try and catch the party who rang it. It was dark, 
and the squatters had used a good long rope, so the goat 
was some distance off. At last, however, a policeman tripped 
over the rope and fell. He got hold of it then, and holding 
on, poor Billy came to him. As may be imagined, he was 
disgusted when he saw how he had been taken in, and there 
were the squatters bursting with laughter, but jeering with 
the crowd, just as though they knew no more than any 
one else. The police asked if any one could tell them who 
had tied the goat to the bell-rope, but no one knew, of course. 

During the first electon ever held in Brisbane the squatters 
had a cask of ale rolled out on to the side of George Street, 
opposite Gray's bootshop, and they had the head knocked 
in and a pint-pot ready for the people to help themselves. 
There was a good crowd, and a piper playing his pipes for 
amusement, and everyone was jolly, helping themselves tO' 
the beer. Suddenly a squatter, going behind the piper, stuck 
a penknife in his pipes. Of course there was a sudden collapse, 
and a great to-do to know who had done the deed, the poor 
old piper threatening instant death. There was no more 
playing of the pipes that day. Later, when the people 
were all helping themselves to a pot of beer from the cask a' 
very little man, named Shepherd, a tailor, not content with 
a potful, brought along a bucket in order to carry it away 
full. As he was reaching in to fill this Mr. Russell caught 


him by the legs and tilted him head first into the cask. When 
rescued he was wringing wet with beer — in fact, was nearly 
drowned, and he went away with the empty bucket 
amid great cheering. 

When people commenced to open Uttle shops in Brisbane 
and put up signboards, the young squatters used to go at 
night and change these boards from one shop to another. 
This had a comical effect in the day time, and caused many a 
laugh. Often things like that were done, but my father 
says he does not remember the squatters ever doing anything 
really wrong or unmanly. Indeed, he maintains at bottom 
they were very kind-hearted, Eind he wishes there were more 
of their stamp nowadays. People on the whole, he thinks, 
were kinder and more honest then than they are now. Every- 
body knew every soul in the sniall place, and a workman 
would leave his tools down alongside his work and come 
back to find them all right. 

Talking of squatters, there is a story told of one which 
may not be out of place here, though the writer does not 
guarantee it had its origin in those very early times, but 
understands it related to later days. The story runs so : — 
In his travels once a squatter came at night to an inn 
which was full to overflowing, and could not therefore obtain' 
a bed. Finding he knew one of the gentlemen who had a 
room there, and who had not yet turned up, he " tipped " 
the housemaid to lend him a lady's dress and shoes and 
other articles of wearing apparel. She wanted to know 
why he wished for these, but, paying her handsomely for the 
loan, he soon satisfied her that it was all right. Taking 
them to his friend's room, he placed the articles about in 
prominent positions, then went to bed. His friend, coming 
in late, made for his room, and opening the door heard a 
shrill, squeaking voice, which exclaimed in horror, " A man 
in the room ! A man in the room ! " Of course, the retreat 
was hurried and precipitous, and the lady's laughter was 
smothered as she thought with delight of the joy of a weU- 
eamed bed. Next morning the landlord got a fierce 
*' dressing down " from a gentleman who wished to know 
how he dared put a lady in the room he had paid for. The 

'■\\ \RKAl;A, SIR I. 1'. BKl 1 s 1:1 Al/k Ili'V. 


landlord was profuse in his apologies, but declared he had 
done no such thing. Then afterwards the story came out. 

" I was extremely sorry to read of the death of Sir Arthur 
Hodgson," Father said, when the news was cabled to Brisbane. 
" He was one of the good old sort. I knew him well. When 
he first came to Moreton Bay he came along to our home 
on the Bight with the other squatters. Many a time, when 
a little chap, I had a ride on his horse on the racecourse. 
He used to give me his horse to hold for him, and I would 
then get on the animal and ride him about till wanted. Sir 
Arthur was a real good-hearted gentleman, one of the right 
sort, full of fun. One doesn't meet too many of his kind 
in these days." 

Another of these early time squatters or men of " the 
good old sort," was the late Sir Joshua Peter Bell — one of 
Queensland's best known men. He arrived in 1846, and was 
a big, fine-looking man. He was a great friend of the blacks, 
his nature being such that they always placed the greatest 
confidence in him. His name and that of Jimbour are 
strongly hnked, and I am indebted to his son, the Hon. 
J. T. Bell, our Minister for Lands, for the illustration of 
" Warraba," taken at that station. This black, as a small 
boy, came to Jimbour with the first or second party of 
Europeans under the late Mr. Henry Dennis about 1843. 
He came from the Namoi, in New South Wales, and was an 
exceptionally fine specimen of an aboriginal. In manner, 
dignity of bearing, and intelhgence, he resembled a superior 
type of white man. He died in 1891. 

Another well-known black on the northern end of Darling 
Downs was " Combo," who came over from the Big River, 
in New South Wales, sometime before 1850 with the late 
Mr. O'Grady Haly, of Taabinga, on the Burnett. The party 
travelled up from New South Wales, via Logan and Nanango. 
" Combo," soon afterwards, went to work on Jimbour, and 
remained there until his death in 1903. His gin was a keen, 
shrewd woman, Mary Ann by name, and of their children, 
two became well known athletes. The eldest, George, a 
short, thick black, was the crack runner on Darling Downs 
somewhere about 1875 or 1876, and defeated all local white 


runners at Ipswich. The other son, " Sambo," better known 
as Charlie Samuels, a long, lean boy, after vanquishing 
all comers at Dalby and on Darling Downs, was taken to 
Sydney by a Jimbour stockman, and there swept the board. 
This was at a time when pedestrianism and professional 
running was at its height. " Sambo " or Samuels defeated 
the English champion, Harry Hutchens twice, and thus 
earned the title of champion of the world. On the third 
occasion Hutchens defeated " Sambo," but the latter does not 
hesitate to say that he allowed the white man to win — saying, 
" the poor fellow hadn't enough money." 


"Old Cocky"— His Little Ways— The Sydney Wentworths' "Sulphur 
Crest"—" Boat Ahoy ! "— " Cocky " and the Ferryman—" It's Devilish 
Cold"— "What the Devil are You Doing There ? "—Disturbing the Cat 
and Kittens — Always Surprising People — Teetotaller for Ever — The 
Washerwoman's Aiiger — Vented His Rage on Dr. Hobbs — Loosing His 
Feathers— Sacrilege to Doubt — "People Won't Believe That " — Governor 

" Old Cocky." 

»0 write of the time of these early squatters, 
etc., and not mention the " Petrie's Cockatoo" 
would indeed be an insult to the memory of that 
wonderful bird — a bird who lived for forty-five 
years. During those years his fame spread far and wide ; 
indeed, " Petrie's Cocky " was a household word everywhere. 
As he grew older it was quite a recognised thing that his 
" life " would be worth recording, and such was meant 
to be done. It never was, however, and therefore much 
with regard to " Cocky' s " clever ways has been lost. 

People there are alive yet, of course, who remember 
" Cocky," and to them the tales I have to tell of him will 
seem no exaggeration ; others there surely will be, though, 
who, Uke Thomas of old, will doubt. To these I would say 
that there have been wonderful birds before in the world's 
history, and if they will consider it, this cocky grew up in 
an exceptionally good school, living as he did in those early 
days, and continually mixing with the prisoners — two or 
three hundred of them. 

In a book written of the Australian pioneers by Mr. Nehe- 
miah Hartley, mention is made of this bird as " the ancestral 
cockatoo, rival of ' Grip, the raven,' and who lived for forty- 
five years with the Petries, and was only excelled by the 
seventy-year old ' sulphur crest ' who domiciled with the 
Sydney Wentworths, patriarchs there like the Petries were 


here, a bird who lived till his bald chest made him fain in 
the wintry July to singe his featherless bosom by the hearth 
fire logs." 

When the late John Petrie (the eldest son) was a boy, 
in fact not long after the arrival of the family in Brisbane, 
" Cocky," then a little fledgling, was presented to him by 
a prisoner named Skinner — a man who was a sort of overseer 
over other prisoners. The little bird thrived and flourished, 
and as he grew he learned to speak most distinctly — one 
could never mistake what he. said — indeed, people sometimes 
would hardly believe that the voice was that of a bird. He 
picked up almost anything in the way of talking, and could 
also, of course, swear beautifully, as the prisoners did. 

" Cocky " was a white cockatoo, and was a big, handsome, 
pretty bird. He walked along proudly, and called himself 
" Jack's Cocky " — ^sometimes " Jack's pretty Cocky." If 
caught at any mischief it was then " Jack's poor Cocky " 
he evidently thought he could stave off punishment so. 

An amusement " Cocky " had was to sit on the fence 
and call all the fowls round him. When they had gathered 
together he would cackle like a hen, then laugh as though 
jeering at them. He was a great bird to laugh, and generally 
ended his mirth with an awful screech. He could also whistle 
well, and would whistle for the dogs, and call, " Here ! here ! " 
then bark and jeer at them. Cats also he teased. " Puss, 
puss ! Poor puss, puss ! " he would say in an insinuating 
sort of fashion, then would pinch their tails and mew. If 
he saw a blackfellow it was, " Baal you yacca, baal you 
tobacco ! " The natives used to sing and dance for " Cocky," 
and the bird would try and mimic them, bobbing his yellow- 
crowned head up and down, and jumping in a sort of dance. 
Indeed, there was one blackfellows' song of which he knew 
a part. The darkies would be very amused, and laugh at 
him, then " Cocky," too, would laugh, and say, " Baal you 
budgery." Like most birds, " Cocky " was very fond of 
being scratched, and he seemed as though he would keep 
a person scratching him all day if they were only willing. 
He would first remark, " Scratch 'Cocky,' " then when that 
was done, turning his old head round, and directing with 


his claw, it was, " Just here," then again in another place, 
" Just here," and lastly he held up his wing with the request 
to " Scratch ' Cocky's ' blanket." His wing was always his 

In, those days a gentleman owned a garden on Kangaroo 
Point, opposite Petrie's Bight. A Highlander worked this 
garden, and sold the cabbages he grew there. When any 
one on the north side wished to buy vegetables, they went 
down to the river's bank and called, " Boat ahoy — cabbage ! " 
and the man would answer, " Ay, ay ! " and pull over with a 
load. One day, John Petrie saw " Cocky " walking along 
extra proudly down towards the river, and he thought by the 
bird's strut as he put one foot out after the other, that some 
mischief was afloat — so watched. He saw " Cocky " chmb 
up a wattle tree which grew on the bank, and settling himself 
there, call, " Boat ahoy — cabbage ! " The old man 
on the opposite side made answer, " Ay, ay," and after a 
little, arrived with cabbages in his boat. Seeing no one, 
he turned about in a surprised sort of fashion, and presently 
discovered " Cocky," who then began to laugh and screech 
at him. The man fell into an awful rage at this, and swore 
at the bird, who, however, but laughed the more. In the 
end, John Petrie had to come forward from where he watched, 
to the rescue, and buy a few cabbages for the sake of peace. 

In the same way many a time " Cocky " would bring 
the ferrymen from Kangaroo Point across to the north 
side all for nothing. This is a well known fact. He would 
fly to a tree on the bank of the river and call, " Over ! " 
Father has seen the ferryman come across and go up the bank 
and look about to see who called, then finding no one, start 
to return, swearing to himself at being made a fool of. When 
he got a few boat lengths away from the shore, there would 
be another " Over ! " and the ferrjmaan, this time seeing 
the bird, would swear still more, and threaten to wring 
his impudent neck if he caught him. " Cocky " however, 
was too smart. He seemed to know well when anyone 
was in a " scot," and would fly away home after his jeer and 
laugh. He had a marvellous power with his voice. It is 
said to be perfectly triie that one day he almost backed 


a horse and dray into the river — someone coming up just 
saved it in time. He could say, " Whoa, back," etc., in 
the most natural manner possible. 

" Cocky " had a very strong beak. People he didn't 
like had cause to think it a " terrible beak," for these he 
pecked viciously at times. He could open oysters easily — 
would just break off the edge, then put in his beak and prize 
the shell open, afterwards eating the oyster. Also it was 
an easy matter for him to open those windows which shove 
upwards (worked on pulleys), unless they were extra stiff. 
He would work his beak in under the bottom of the window, 
then shove up the lower sash far enough to get his head in. 
People inside generally helped him then. One wretchedly cold 
day Grandfather Petrie happened to be in the sitting-room, 
when he saw " Cocky " come and try to open one of the win- 
dows there. It, however, happened to be stiff, so the bird 
gave up and went off round to a bedroom window. Succeeding 
there, he shoved in his head, saying, " Poor ' Cocky ' — it's 
devilish cold ! " A son of the house was in this room, and 
Grandfather, when he heard what the bird had said, laughed 
very heartily. 

As I have said, there are a good many people still living 
who remember " Old Cocky " and his ways. Those who 
know him best say he was a strange bird, and seemed human 
in the way he understood things. My mother says the first 
time she saw him he rather embarrassed her by asking 
" Who are you ? " in a tone of voice as though she had no 
business near him. If he came out with any expression he 
had learnt, it was sure to fit the occasion. One day a pilot 
from the Bay came to Andrew Petrie's house to talk over 
some business. Dinner was just about to be served, and he 
was taken in to have a meal with the family. He was a 
great drunkard, this pilot, and happened to be rather unsteady 
that day, so Mr. Petrie remonstrated, and lectured him 
for his bad habit. " Cocky " generally, when there was 
a stranger in the room, perched himself as though to listen 
on the back of a chiar the newcomer sat on, so here he was, 
of course, on the pilot's chair. He seemed to listen to the 
lecture with his head on one side, then, as the pilot promised 


to try and do better, " You ought to be ashamed of yourself !" 
he said. "So I ought, ' Cocky,' " said the man, turning 
round. " Ashamed of yourself " was a great expression 
with " Cocky." On this occasion all the family sat round 
the table ; the only two who are now left — Mrs. Ferguson 
and my father — remember the circumstance well. 

Round towards the back of the house, near the office door, 
a half -cask of pipeclay stood, and " Cocky " loved to get 
into this cask and work away with his beak, imagining he 
was very busy, Uke the workmen, digging and throwing up 
the earth as they did. One morning John Petrie put him 
down near this cask, saying, " Go on, ' Cocky,' to your 
work." The bird jumped up on to the edge of the cask, 
then down to the pipeclay, on top of a rat which had sheltered 
there. " Cocky " got an awful scare as the rat moved, 
and was up on to the edge of the cask again instantly, then 
turning and looking down on the rat, with his feathers ruffled 
and his topknot up, " What the devil are you doing there ? " 
he said. One can imagine how John Petrie stood and laughed, 
and laughed again, helpless, while the offending rat made 
his escape. 

Years afterwards there was another small cask which 
" Cocky " played in — this time an empty one, except for some 
little bits of sticks and rubbish which the bird loved to break 
up with his beak. The present Andrew Petrie (member 
for Toombul), grandson to the old gentleman, teUs this 
story. He, a boy at the time, discovered, with some other 
youngsters, a cat with kittens in this cask, which was 
" Cocky's " special property. It was in the morning before 
the bird's usual time of working there. So the boys looked 
for some fun, and watched to see what would happen when 
" Cocky " came along. The bird climbed up the cask in 
the usual manner, and, gaining the top, he put his head over, 
preparatory to chmbing in. The cat, of course, resented 
this, and spitting viciously, she threw up her paw and hit 
" Cocky " on the ide of the head, The frightened bird waited 
for no more, but climbed down again instantly, muttering 
all the time, " Poor puss, puss ! Poor puss, puss ! Poor puss, 
puss ! " The boys, of course, screamed with laughter, and 


" Cocky " the moment he was safely on the ground exclaimed, 
" Baal budgery ! Hip, hip, hurray ! " One cannot describe 
the comical effect of a cheer from "Cocky" — he always 
threw up his topknot when he came to " Hurray ! " He kept 
away from this cask for sometime afterwards — ^wouldn't 
go near it. 

The Miss Petrie of those days had a king parrot who was 
a great pet, and was very clever — he could Ccdl each of the 
three dogs of the household by their right names. This 
bird lived for about nine years, then took cramps. Finding 
him unable to stand one day in his cage, his mistress took 
him out, saying, " Poor Joey — ^poor fellow ! " and Cocky 
was walking about watching. Miss Petrie doctored her bird, 
then put him on her bed on a piece of flannel. " Cocky " 
followed, and catching the counterpane in his beak, climbed 
up on to the bed, then lifting Joey's covering looked at 
him, and said, " Poor Joey — ^poor fellow ! " Then he climbed 
down again and walked off. 

" Cocky " picked up any word or expression he heard 
very quickly. He was alway surprising people. On one 
occasion down by the side of the road in front of the house, 
two men lounged idly talking. "Cocky" noticing the pair 
strutted down to them and inquired " What ship ? " Then 
he commenced to talk, " Jack's 'Cocky '—Jack's poor, pretty 
cockatoo, me boy," he said. The men got him to make 
friends, then bringing him up to the house told them there, 
" This bird wanted to know what ship we came in, and said 
he was " Jack's pretty Cocky.' " " Cocky " listened to this 
with head on one side, then broke in with " Baal you yacca, 
baal you tobacco ! " 

" Cocky " could say all the names of the family. In 
the morning when Andrew Petrie walked along the veranda 
to call his son George, " Cocky," hearing the footfalls and 
the sound of the walking stick, never waited for the voice, 
but would be first in calling — " Jordy ! Jordy ! " rapping 
his beak on the floor in imitation of the sound of the 
stick. My grandfather had many a laugh at this. 

A working man called Johnnie Bishop could imitate a 
drunken man very well. He often used to come to " Cocky " 


and assume drunkenness for the sake of hearing the bird 
string on a lot of swears at him, and say, " You ought to be 
ashamed of yourself ! " Poor " Cocky, he was often teased. 
The wild young squatters used to laugh at him, and he would 
chase them. When he chased anyone he always said, " Sule 
'im," and then would bark like a dog. One day these squatters 
poured gin and water down the poor bird's throat, and this 
evidently made him tight, for he could not stand. Always 
afterwards he would run from a glass even of water, and the 
squatters laughingly declared " he was a teetotaller for ever ! " 

Whenever " Cocky " had done anything wrong, he always 
wanted to " kiss," one knew so that he had been in mischief 
and was afraid of being punished. He was a terrible bird 
for destroying furniture, and often narrowly escaped being 
killed for the damage he did in that as in other ways. Once 
a large brick oven in the house was repaired. The workmen, 
when they had finished, went off, leaving everything all right, 
but the mortar, of course, was wet. " Cocky," when their 
backs were turned, set to work, and, using his powerful 
beak, gradually loosened the key bricks, causing the whole 
thing to fall in, and how the bird escaped is a marvel. All 
the work had to be done over again. Another similar trick 
at another time, he played upon the Petrie's washerwoman. 
She had the clothes out drying, and, when her back was turned, 
" Cocky," climbing along the line, pulled out every peg 
thereon, causing the clean clothes to fall to the ground. 
The washerwoman, who was a one-time convict, used some 
rather choice language when she saw what had happened. 

" Cocky " had a perch up under the kitchen veranda, where 
it was boarded in, and here he made a little hole, where he 
could put his head out ; was very busy making this hole ; 
worked at it every night till finished. From here he could see 
the ferry and anyone passing to it. It was a great thing then 
for a person who wished to be funny to call " Hey ! " then 
when the other looked round, " That slewed you ! " " Cocky" 
picked this up, and would do it beautifully to passers by. 
Some of them got quite angry with him. The moment 
he got anyone to look, he would bob in his old head out of 
sight. The present Andrew Petrie says he has often heard 


Dr. Hobbs say " Cocky " " had " him many a time, by either 
a whistle or a call. 

One day by some means or other, " Cocky " fell in the 
river, and would have been drowned but for his wings. He 
was discovered calling, " Jack's poor ' Cocky ' ! " and at his 
rescue was terribly excited, repeatedly kissing and saying, 
" Kiss — ^poor 'Cocky ' — Jack's poor ' Cocky.' " 

" Cocky " hated to see people barefooted. The sight of 
bare feet irritated and made him savage, and he would 
chase the owner. He also hated the doctor with intense 
hatred, and " went " for him. At one time my father's 
brother Andrew was ill in bed, and " Cocky " took it upon 
himself to sit alongside the sufferer, of whom he was very 
fond because of being fed by him. He would sometimes 
even get imder the blankets, and whenever any one went 
neeu: the bed " Cocky " got very cross, and swore at and 
chased the intruder. Then when Dr. Hobbs came alngo 
he vented his rage on him. He would no sooner be put out 
at the door than he was round at the window, which if closed 
he prized open with his beak, and there he was in the room 
again and at the doctor. So he had to be shut up in a cage 
till the doctor left. Dtiring his imprisonment he continually 
called, "Baal budgery — Jack's pretty 'Cocky!' — kiss poor 
' Cocky ! '" 

" Cocky " seemed to know when anyone was ill. All 
the time my grandmother was laid aside before her death, 
he spent part of each day at her bed head, watching to see 
that no one came near, and now and then saying, " Poor 
fellow ! " When she died he was present, and afterwards 
seemed quite dull for a day or two — it was almost as though 
he knew something. He went on in the same way years 
afterwards when the old gentleman died. They could not 
keep him out of the room, and when the coffin was brought 
in, he flew fiercely at those who went to hft the body. The 
poor bird had to be shut up out of the way. He was found, 
however, afterwards, on the edge of the coffin, looking down 
into it, and was heard to remark, " Poor fellow ! " before 
he got down and walked away. 


Although " Cocky " was forty-five years old when he 
died, he might have lived even much longer but for an accident 
he had. One day he perched himself on a half-cask of pitch, 
and somehow fell into it. It was a hot day, and the pitch 
was soft, and in the struggle to get out the feathers on the 
bird's breast got stuck and pulled out. They never 
grew again. So in the summer he had to be put in a cage and 
covered with a net, as the mosquitoes tormented him very 
much, then in winter it was a piece of work to keep him warm. 
The unfortunate bird fell into a habit of continually picking 
his bare breast, which made it bleed. Though he lived this 
way for years, at last he looked so miserable that it was thought 
truer kindness to put an end to his misery, so a stranger 
was paid to do the deed. This, then, was the last of poor 
old " Cocky." 

To the older members of the Petrie family yet living it is 
a sort of sacrilege in a way, to laugh at or doubt any of the 
tales told of " Cocky." But yet they realise that it must 
be difficult for people who did not know him to understand 
how a bird could come to such perfection. My father will 
talk of him, then say, " But people won't beUeve that — 
they will think it all bosh." And his nephew, Andrew Petrie, 
says, " Never have I seen such a bird since. I have come 
across many a clever bird on steamers and elsewhere, but 
never one has been able to touch ' old Cocky.' He was 
truly marvellous. He was a great bird to ' take off ' people. 
Many a time, when I sang as a boy, ' Cocky ' would mimic 
me, then laugh and jeer. Often the blacks brought in tiny 
young cockatoos for us, and Cocky would go upstairs to where 
they were, and feed them just as a parent bird does, then 
he would make exactly the noise they did, and laugh over 
it. There was a little pet pig, too, he was very fond of ; 
he often carried food to it. Once these two were found 
getting drunk together ! A cask of beer was leaking, and 
piggy was sucking up the liquid, while ' Cocky ' caught the 
drops with his beak. Poor ' Cocky ' — I used to be amused 
at the way he would climb up father's chair, then pull his 
sleeve, and say, ' Jack ! ' If no notice were taken, he kept 


at it till he got the answer, ' Well, what is it ? ' ' Give 
" Cocky " a piece of bread.' " 

Governor Cairns, when he came to Queensland, had heard 
so much about " Cocky " that he asked to be taken to see 
him. Poor " Cocky " was then very disreputable looking 
with his bare breast, and young Andrew was rather 
ashamed to show him. However, he brought the bird 
forth and made him talk a little, saying to His Excellency 
that he was " Jack's poor, pretty cockatoo, me boy." But 
his best days were over then. 


Mr. Andrew Petrie's Loss of Sight— Walked His Room in Agony— Blind for 
Twenty-four Years— Overlooking the Workmen— Never Could be Ira- 
posed Upon— His Wonderful Power of Feeling— Walter Petrie's Early 
Death— Drowned in the Present Creek Street— Only Twenty-two Years 
—Insight into the Unseen — " You Will Find My Poor Boy Down There 
in the Creek" — A Very Peculiar Coincidence— Walter Petrie's Great 
Strength — First Brisbane Boat Races. 

^^^^FTER the settlement was thrown open in 1842, 
i-^ Mr.Andrew Petrie's office was of course abolished, 
jand Colonel Barney and others, recognising 
that gentleman's ability, endeavoured to persuade 
him to return to Sydney, and continue under the Government 
there. However, taking an interest in Queensland, he pre- 
ferred remaining where he was to try his luck in what he 
foresaw would become a flourishing colony. Therefore, 
he started business on his own account, contracting for 
Government and other buildings, and here his engineering 
and architectural training stood him in good stead. 

In 1848, while on a trip to the Downs, Mr. Petrie caught 
sandy blight, which was prevalent at the time ; his eyes 
got very bad, and though everything was tried to cure them 
nothing seemed to work. Being an active man, he became 
impatient at the waste of time consequent, and though his 
wife begged him to wait awhile and rest, he insisted upon going 
to the doctors. Simple remedies and time, no doubt, would 
have worked the cure — the doctors in those early days were 
not as skilful as they are now. My father, then a boy of 
about seventeen years, remembers leading his father to the 
hospital, which stood where the Supreme Court is now, and 
there they went in to the doctors to see what could be suggested, 
my grandfather saying, " Whatever you do don't cut any- 
thing." " Oh, no ! " was the reply, but the boy saw one 
of them take up a small pair of tweezers, and catching hold 


of the skin or scum which had formed over the sight, he held 
it while the other cut through with another instrument. 
Then caustic was put in the eyes, and the doctors declared 
that though it would pain a little, everything would come 
right, and Mr. Petrie would be able to see. All the way home, 
however, the poor gentleman was in great pain, and that 
whole night through he walked his room in agony, and one 
of his eyes burst. Father could never forget that awful 
time afterwards, and to this day he thinks his father's sight 
may have been saved under different treatment. 

Some time after, when the pain had gone from his eyes, 
my grandfather was taken to Sydney to see if the doctors 
there could do any good ; they told him that one eye was 
quite hopeless — the sight was gone altogether, but there 
might be spme chance with the other. In the latter he 
always thought he could see a little glimmering, but nothing 
further ever came of it. 

It is a pitiful thing when a strong active man loses his 
eyesight. When Mr. Andrew Petrie realised that he would 
never see again, his agony and suffering must have been fright- 
ful, for he could not become reconciled just at first. It was a 
sad, sad time for his wife, who had to comfort him and witness 
his struggle, helpless to effect a cure. He was only fifty 
years of age at the time, eind had always been used to leading 
others, so that the eternal darkness facing him must naturally 
have been almost more than he could bear. Could he have 
known, he was to live (a bUnd man) for twenty-four years — 
being nearly seventy-four at his death. However, in time' 
it was wonderful how he managed, people marvelled at his 

" He was always at work with his mind," my father says ; 
" I have seen him when tenders were called for erecting 
a building or bridge, etc., getting my brother John to explain 
the plans and read the specifications to him ; then he would 
take a slate and with the forefinger of the left hand on the 
top of the slate, he wrote across, moving down his finger 
each time he finished a line until both sides were fiJled. He 
never crossed the lines, and would state the quantity of timber 
required, the amount of nails, and everything else needful; 


or if it was something to be built of brick or stone, he was 
scarcely out in a brick, etc. Indeed he was very seldom 
out in his reckoning." 

Father goes on to say that his father always rang the work 
men's bell at eight o'clock, then again at one and two and six. 
" He gave all the men their orders for the day ; he knew each 
by their step, and called them by their names. To one dray- 
man he would say to take so many loads of loam to the scene 
of action, and to another so much sand, lime, or bricks ; 
and then the carpenters, blacksmiths, and sawyers got their 
orders. Going to the carpenters' shop he would feel the work 
being done all over, and knew at once if it was correct— 
they could not deceive him. In the same way he went to 
the blacksmiths and stonemasons, and I have heard the men 
say they would sooner see any one coming into the shop 
to examine their work than father. They said if anything 
was wrong or not finished off properly he would find it out 
by feeUng, for he knew where a joint should be, or a nail 
driven, and was never imposed upon, but would have things 
done properly at all costs. He always carried a walking 
stick, and at times would use it when displeased, but in a 
moment or two his temper was gone, and asking for a piece 
of board, he drew on it with chalk the shape of the moulding 
or anything that they were making, explaining how it was 
to be done and all about it, telling them to be sure and work 

Mr. Andrew Petrie was led every day to all the buildings 
and other works under construction ; he was never satisfied 
till he went the rounds to see what was required for the next 
day. His son John after a time had a pony broken in for 
him to save any walking, for he had a sore leg. Before 
leaving the old country his thigh was broken ; while riding 
a j«)ung horse from his work in Edinburgh, the animal shied 
and ran him into a cab. The young fellow's leg got caught 
in the spokes of the wheel, and was broken, and also the shin 
and side of the leg above the ankle was very much skinned and 
braised. The broken part (thigh) was set and recovered, 
but the bruise on the leg would heal up and then break out 


again, and years afterwards, when his sight was gone, it was 
very bad at times. 

" One could almost see the bone of this leg," Father 
remarks, " but my father would never lay up with it ; though 
you could see that it pained him sometimes very much, 
he would never give in. He had a great spirit, as well as 
an active mind, and his memory was splendid. He often 
gave us (his sons) little things to do and remember, and 
though we perhaps forgot all about them, he never did, 
and would afterwards ask had we done such-and-such a thing ? 
When I told him I'd forgotten, he would say the wretched 
tobacco smoke had taken all my brains away ! 

" A boy led the pony on which my father rode rovmd 
to the different works in progress, and you would see him 
taken to a ladder leaning on a two-story building, up which 
he would climb just as though he could see. Getting to the 
top and on to a plank, he would poke about with his stick 
on the sides and all along the plank, then aU over the building, 
feeling with it the different parts of the work ; and all the 
men had to do was to tell him what portion of the building 
he was on, and he seemed to know where each piece of timber 
should be fixed, and where every joint should be. It was 
wonderful to see him going over a building — ^he had a grand 
head, much better than any of us, his sons. His leg never 
got well, though it healed up somewhat before his death. 
He was very independent with regard to this leg, and dressed, 
washed, and bandaged it himself night and morning, seldom 
allowing any one else to touch it." 

In the same year in which Mr. Andrew Petrie lost 
his eyesight (1848) his son Walter was drowned in the 
one-time creek from which Creek Street now takes 
its name. In those 6arly days Mr. Petrie ran a 
couple of punts, one of which was employed in carry- 
ing stone (used for buildings) from the hard stone 
quarry at Kangciroo Point, also sand and shells from the bay 
for lime-making ; the other journeyed to Ipswich with flour, 
etc., for Walter Gray's store, and brought back tallow and 
bales of wool. On one occasion the latter was loaded and 
ready to start, but lay at anchor opposite Kangaroo Point, 


waiting for the tide, which would not suit till eight o'clock ; 
and Walter Petrie (a boy of twenty-two) intended making the 
trip in charge of the boat (as the head man was ill), and had 
gone down the township before the hour of departure to visit 
some friends and get some tobacco. When eight o'clock 
came round, however, there was no sign of the young fellow, 
and one of the crew (former prisoners) on board, wondering 
what he should do, went ashore at last to ask instructions. 
Mr. Petrie started off at this to look for his son, saying to 
" Tom " to come along, and they would find him. Father 
remembers well leading his blind father to a number of different 
places, and at last they came to a friend who said the young 
fellow had been there some hours previously, leaving with the 
intention of going to the boat. 

That night no trace was found. Next morning Mrs. Petrie, 
with one of those unexplained insights into the unseen, said 
that her son would never be found alive, for he was drowned 
down in the creek ; and she pointed her hand as she spoke. 
Her remark was, however, made light of, the hearers little 
suspecting how true it was, the boy being a splendid swimmer. 
In the meantime, a story had been started, born quickly 
like a bubble, as empty tales are at those times, that the 
young fellow had run away. 

The boat waiting to start was sent off, and " Tom " took 
his brother's place. Whether it was because of his 
mother's remark he does not know, but all the time the boy 
had the same strange feeling that Walter was drowned, 
and going up the river everything he saw floating gave him 
a turn. At that time R. J. Smith's boiling-down works 
had opened on the Bremer, and after entering that river, 
the boat's party came upon a dead body floating a little 
way ahead. " I thought it was him," says my father, " and 
I nearly dropped ; but when we got up to it it ^was a dead 
sheep with the wool all off floating in the water. Then 
when we got to Ipswich I was told that my brother had been 
found drowned in the creek at Brisbane on the same day 
as I had seen the sheep." 

Strange, but true, is the following, which illustrates still 
further the strong feeling which Mrs. Petrie had with regard 


to her son's disappearance. In those days a small scrub 
grew on the north bank of the creek, just behind where the 
Commercial Bank is now, at the corner of Queen and Creek 
Streets. Before any trace was found of the missing lad 
two men were sent by Mr. Petrie to this scrub for vines 
for binding up shingles (which were always bound so then_ 
in bundles, the vines being twisted into the shape of hoops), 
and Mrs. Petrie hearing the order (she had never been out 
of the house all this time) called after them, " You will 
find my poor boy down there in the creek," and then she 
persisted in watching the men, for from the doorway the 
creek could be seen. Her daughter stayed by her side, seeking 
to draw her away, but the poor lady was in such a dazed 
condition, that she seemed unable to think of an3rthing 
but her lost son. She watched as the men reached the creek, 
then noticing them pause and draw back — " They have 
found him now," she said. The men returned and asked 
for Mr. Petrie. " Why do you ask that ? " she said, " I 
know what has brought you. You have found my boy." 
All the time she was unable to weep, and they had to take 
her away to another part of the house. Mr. Petrie himself 
had discredited the idea of drowning, saying Walter was too 
good a swimmer, and now the shock seemed to come to him 
twofold. Pitiful it must have been, to see the poor blind 
gentleman going to his wife's side as he did when he heard the 
truth, and the body having been in the water, he could 
not even have the comfort of feeling his son for the last 
time — the bonny boy who was a favourite with all. 

It was found afterwards that the young fellow had gone 
to cross the bridge (or rather apology for one) which spanned 
the creek opposite to where Campbells' warehouse is now, 
and the logs being wet (for it had been raining), he slipped 
and fell. The bridge was originally composed of three 
long logs put across the creek, then slabs on top, and dirt 
covering all ; but at this time the dirt had fallen off, and also 
nearly all the slabs lay beneath in the mud. As the young 
fellow crossed to take the short cut to the boat, simply as 
such accidents happen, he slipped in the dark (though he 
may have crossed safely a hundred other times), and falling 


head foremost on to the slabs (it was low tide), he was stunned 
and lay unconscious. Indeed from the examination after- 
wards it was said his neck was broken. However, he lay 
there all alone in the dark, while they sought for him in other 
places, and the water which knew him so well, and in which 
he had leamt to swim, rose slowly and lapped against the 
stalwart young form as though to rouse it. Then, gaining 
no answer, and growing bolder, the tide lifted and carried 
the lad up the creek to where he was afterwards found. 

Of all Andrew Petrie's children, Walter was the only fair 
one with blue eyes, and he was said to be exceedingly hand- 
some. Grandfather himself was fair, but my grandmother, 
who was a Cuthbertson, was dark, and a very big woman. 
They thought it wisest not to let her see her dead son, but 
she would not be comforted otherwise, and the sight proved 
too much. " That is not my boy," she insisted, and then 
the mother lost consciousness. 

It was a very peculiar coincidence, but nine years after- 
wards, at the end of 1857, ^ the same creek, another Walter, 
a little son of John Petrie, was drowned, the first Walter 
being twenty-two years, while the second was a baby of 
twenty-two months. The child's accident also happened at 
a broken bridge, though it was further up the stream — in 
fact, it stood in 'the present Queen Street, near where Shaw's 
ironmongery shop used to be, now occupied by Russell 
Wilkins. The boy wandered off from his nurse, and, she, 
being sent to seek him, came upon the Uttle chap drowned 
in the creek. The alarm was given, and the body was 
recovered quickly, but life was extinct. In that part the 
water was only five or six feet deep. 

Walter Petrie, as I have said, was only twenty-two years 
of age when he met his death, and he was an exceptionally 
strong, young fellow. His brother " Tom " says of him, 
" I have seen Walter take two two-hundred pound bags of 
flour, one under each arm, and walk by a plank on board 
the punt with them. Also many a time in my presence has 
he taken a blacksmith's sledge hammer by the handle, and 
held it out at arm's length." He was a splendid swimmer, 
learning the art with his brothers not many yards from where 


he fell, and had the water been high when he attempted to 
cross the logs, all would have been well. 

Before his death, Walter Petrie used, with his brother 
John, to row a great deal in the early boat races. The 
sport was very different then to what it is now. The boats 
were heavy and ungainly, and the races were consequently 
won by sheer strength. Boats after the style of a present- 
day ferry boat were used for one occupant, and both Walter 
and John won many of these single-handed races. Then 
together they pulled in the whaleboat events with equal success, 
their boat being called the Lucy Long. Whaleboats held 
five oarsmen always, and another man who stood up and 
used the steer oar, holding it in his left hand, while with 
his right he assisted the stroke. Such races would look 
odd in these days, of course, but my father says a whale 
boat race was well worth watching. The men all kept good 
time, feathering their oars alike, and so on. The course 
taken was from the Colonial Stores (Queen's Wharf), down 
to the Garden Point, where a buoy was anchored, then 
round the buoy and back to the point on South Brisbane 
above the present Commercial shed, then called Womsley 
Point after a sawyer who used to cut timber there. Another 
buoy was anchored here, and the course continued round 
it, then back home to the wharf. When John Petrie was 
puUing in these races he acted as stroke. 

By way of variety, what was called a dingey race was in- 
dulged in. It was great fun. The dingey only held one man, 
of course, and John Petrie was very often chosen because 
of his aptitude. He was allowed so many yards start, and 
the idea was that the bow man in the whaleboat following 
had to catch him within a certain length of time (about 
twelve minutes). When the whaleboat got close to the dingey 
the latter would spin round like a top, and the big boat 
lost ground in turning after it ; and so they went on until, if 
the whaleboat got too near, the pursued man jumped over- 
board and dived beneath his opponent's boat. " Bow " 
followed after, diving also, but when John Petrie was in the 
race he was seldom caught before time was up, as he was a 
grand swimmer and diver in those dajre, and very few could 


catch him in the water. Of course, there was no bridge 
across the river then. 

Being a good deal younger, my father was out of these 
races, but he witnessed them, nevertheless. Another exciting 
event he remembers in this connection was a race between 
two lots of natives. Each crew occupied a whale boat, 
and the prize was a bag of flour and some tea and sugar. 
It was a splended race, and well pulled, the winners, who 
were Amity Point blacks, beating the others (Brisbane 
tribe) by a length. The successful crew were fine, big, strong 
men, and good pullers, having had more practice than their 
Brisbane brethren, as they mostly had belonged to tt . Pilot's 
boat's crew. That night in camp there was much feasting, 
the prize being greatly appreciated. 


Great Changes in One Lifetime — How Shells and Coral Were Obtained for 
Lime-making— King Island or " Winnam " — Lime-buming on Petrie's 
Bight— Diving Work— Harris's Wharf— A Trick to Obtain " Grog "— 
Reads Like Romance — Narrow Escape of a Diver. 

S^^sa^S an instance of the great changes whic"h have 
taken place in Brisbane in even less than one 
lifetime, it is interesting to follow my father's 
"experiences of the way in which shells and coral 
for lime-making were obtained when he was a boy, As 
already mentioned, a punt did the carting from the Bay,, 
and as a protection to them from the blacks, " Tom " was 
sent with the crew, for, being so well known among the darkies,, 
the lad was a safeguard to anyone in his company. 

The shells used were obtained from the sandy point on the 
Humbybong side of the mouth of the Pine River, where they 
were plentiful then in the required dry, dead state ; and this, 
point the blacks called " Kulukan " (pelican), because at low 
water the bank there was crowded with pelicans. Four men 
besides my father manned the boat, and they went with 
the ebb down the river, anchoring at the mouth till the 
tide turned again and came up some two feet, thus enabling 
the party to surmount the difficulty of sandbanks. Planks 
were fixed along each side of the punt, so that the men could 
walk from end to end, and each man had a long light pole 
with which to shove the boat along. They kept in as close 
to the shore as was possible, and so with the help of the tide 
got slowly along past where Sandg^te is now, onwards to the 
mouth of the Pine, Father steering. 

Four baskets made by old Bribie, the basket-maker, also 
two or three rakes to gather together the shells, formed 
part of the punt's outward-going cargo, and two men would 
fill the baskets whilst the remaining pair carried them into. 



the water, dipping them up and down to rid the shells of all 
sand. The punt was left dry on the beach as the water 
receded, but the tide coming up again would float her when 
she was laden. Sometimes natives were present, and they 
helped with the work, their payment being tobacco and 
flour. Almost always the homeward start was made at 
night, as it was calmer then, and as the tide rose the men 
poled away along the shore till they got into the river, the 
tide carrying them there. The outgoing journey was com- 
menced at night, too, generally. 

Coral for the lime-making was obtained in much the same 
way from King Island or " Winnam " (breadfruit), as the 
blacks called it then. The punt was taken through the 
Boat Passage, and kept close to the land all the way, being 
poled along the shore as before in the night hours, then over 
to the island. These punts held big loads, but later their 
place was taken by a cutter Mr. Petrie had built for the pur- 
pose, and for carrying oysters from the oyster banks for 
the lime. Lime-burning was carried out at Petrie's Bight, 
and there also the cutter was built. 

When writing of the habits of the aborigines, I have men- 
tioned how my father, as a youngster, used to spend hours 
day after day in the water with the black boys, diving (as- 
amusement) for white bones and pebbles. This made him 
very dexterous, and so whenever there was a difficult water 
job in those days he was in great request. The first thing 
he remembers tackling was a large steam boiler which had 
sunk in a punt during the night at the wharf where Thomas- 
Brown and Sons' warehouse is now. The punt lay on a slant, 
one end being some twenty feet beneath the water, and 
the other six feet, and my father had to try and see where a. 
chain could be got under the boiler to rise it. He went 
down the chain, which was fastened to another large punt 
on the surface, and this is his description of the experience : 

" The water was very clear, and I could see as well as if 
out of it. Coming to the lower end, after going along holding 
to the boiler, I let go to come up, and although I could see 
the fight above, thought I would never reach the surface, 
and, when I did arrive there, was pretty well out of breath. 



After a rest, I started down again, taking with me a small 
line by which to pull the chain under the boiler. I suc- 
ceeded in getting the line under, and came back along the 
chain, making sure that I would get up this time all right. 
The men in the punt above pulled on the hne, and then 
I went down again, and pushed the chain under, and they 
pulled again, and were successful in getting it through. 
The chains were fastened to the punt above during low 
water, so, of course, as she rose with the tide, the punt 
beneath was lifted too." 

Another water job was undertaken after a large flood 
which carried away what was then Harris's Wharf in the 
present Short Street, next to where Pettigrew's mill stood. 
The wharf was taken a good many yards into the river, 
and it had to be raised. So a punt was put alongside with shear 
legs attached to hoist the logs, and Father went down time 
after time and put a chain round one by one, and he also 
prized them asunder with a crowbar. A man called Tom 
CoUins, a bricklayer, assisted by sitting astride a log in the 
water, and he handed the crowbar and chain as they were 
wanted — thus saving a lot of swimming on the young fellow's 
part. The man himself could not swim, but, says my father, 
" he was a good worker, though very fond of his nip." 

" At this time it was rather cold to be in the water every 
day, and the work went on for some two months, so they 
used to give CoUins a glass of grog each morning before 
work, and then again when he knocked off. One day, however, 
this little attention was neglected, and as it happened to be 
extra cold, Collins informed me that he would make them 
give him his usual. So, crawling along the log to the shore, 
he tumbled off into the mud, then picking himself up and 
putting his tongue out at me, scrambled up the bank and into 
the store. Up the stairs he went, shivering and shaking, the 
mud and water dripping from him, and when they saw him 
there — ' For glory's sake go down out of this ; see what 
a mess you are making ! ' But the dirty, wet object only 
shivered and shook the more, and making his teeth chatter, 
he gasped, ' I can't go till you give me a glass of grog.' To 
get him out of their sight was all they thought of, so he 


triumpantly returned to me wagging his tongue, and carefully 
fondling a bottle of gin under his arm. ' I'll be all right 
now,' he said, ' and will be able to hold the bar fine and 
steady.' " 

Collins, sitting there on the log in the water, dangling 
his legs, must have cut rather a comical figure, and people 
who came and paused to look on would call to ask what 
he was doing. " Oh, I am holding a lamp under the water, 
so that the chap below can see to prize some logs apart !" 
would be his reply. Poor ColUns ! his fondness for a nip 
ended his days ; for, many years after he sat there on the log, 
he was found one day quite dead on the bank of the Bremer 
River, his head in the water ; and it was supposed that, 
being drunk, he lay down to try and get a drink, failing 
miserably in the attempt to rise again. 

If the water had been clear and warm during this work, 
things would have been much more pleasant, but Father says 
it was fuU of floating dead fish (after the flood), and to come 
up and strike one with his face was anything but nice. At 
this time he wore a ring made on the Bendigo diggings from 
pure gold he had found there himself, and one day, while 
working in the water, a chain caught this ring and knocked 
it off his finger. He dived, but could not find it, being unable 
to see in the muddy water, so a day or two afterwards got a 
couple of blacks to come along and try. They were also 
unsuccessful, though trjdng a long time, so the ring was given 
up for lost. However, on the Saturday afternoon, when work 
was done, my father, feeling sad about the ring because of its 
associations, said to Collins, " I will try once more for that 
ring, the water is low, and I know just where it dropped." 
With that in he jumped, and the first thing he felt when touch- 
ing bottom was the ring on a stone. The young fellow's 
delight can be imagined. This reads somewhat like romance, 
but 'tis all quite true, and one of my father's daughters now 
wears the ring, he having had it cut to fit her finger. To go 
further with its history, I may add the ring was lost a second 
time. For months it lay on a lawn, and when hope was given 
up, it caught one day on the prongs of a rake a gardener was 
weilding. j 


Yet another piece of water-work will I mention. This time 
the scene was the Bremer River, and the first Roman Catholic 
Church was being erected at Ipswich. A pimt laden with 
shingles and freestone for the building sank one night when 
only about twenty yards from the bank — having sprung a leak. 
Father was sent up with two natives to do the diving, and he 
first of aU went down to find out how the punt lay, so that he 
could fix the position of the floating punt above. Then poles 
were put down to enable the divers to judge where to come 
up safely, the water being muddy, and they took it in turns 
to get the shingles up (with the help of shear legs). This did 
not take much time, but the stones were more troublesome, 
they were heavy — some of them my father could not move 
when on land, but beneath the water could lift aji end, and 
so get the sUng fixed. " One day," he says, " one of the 
darkies in coming up got imder the floating punt, and you 
could hear him bump ! bump ! on the bottom. We thought 
it was a case with him, but he bumped aU along the bottom 
of the punt till he got to the end, then came up. We caught 
him, and pulled him out, and he Wcis nearly done for, but soon 
recovered. However, nothing would induce the poor fellow 
to go into the water again, so the job had to be finished without 


Characters in the Way of " Old Hands "—Material for a Charles Dickens — 
"Cranky Tom "—" Deaf Mickey "—Knocked Silly in Logan's Time— 
" Wonder How Long I've Been Buried "—Scene in the Road Which is 
Now Queen Street — A Peculiar Court Case — First Brisbane Cemetery. 

iR. ANDREW PETRIE had several "old 
hands," who had served their time and were 
free, working for him, in different ways. One, 
" Cranky Tom," was quite a character, and 
would have served as material for a Charles Dickens. He 
used to do odd jobs, such as cutting firewood, loading drays, 
etc., and the poor man was not quite in possession of his senses 
in all things. He would never sleep in a bed, but would 
" camp " beside the kitchen fire, or, if a limekiln were burning, 
there for a certainty would he be found, rolled up in a blanket, 
surrounded by dogs. When asked, " Tom, what were 
you sent out to this country for ? " he invariably answered, 
" For pulling the tail out of a donkey, and beating him 
with the bloody end of it." 

One day a dray loaded with timber entered the yard, 
and the drayman called to " Cranky Tom " to chock the 
wheel. The stupid man, instead of getting a stone or stick, 
ran and used his foot as a stop, but it quickly came out again, 
and its owner danced about crying, " Oh, my country, what 
I've suffered for you ! " The wheel had given him a nasty 
squeeze, but did not go over the foot. 

Another time, one Sunday morning, when Jimmy Porter, 
one of the 'prentice boys, got up to light the fire, and put the 
kettle on, he was surprised to find all the kitchen utensils gone, 
pots, pans, kettle, cups and saucers, plates, knives — everything 
— even the long iron rake for the ashes ! Before the family 
could breakfast, a messenger had to be sent across for fresh 
things to the general store then kept at Kangaroo Point 


by a man called Davidson. " Cranky Tom " was suspected 
of having hidden the utensils, but he could not be foun^ 
anywhere about the place, so a policeman's help was sought. 
Father, boy-like, accompanied the " Bobby," and he remem- 
bered how they went past Petrie's Bight, and as far as to 
where the Union Hotel stands now in the Valley, and there 
they came upon " Cranky Tom," sitting on the roadside 
laughing, and looking quite pleased with himself, his trousers 
all soiled with pot-black. The policeman said to him, " Well, 
Tom, how did you get all that black stuff on your trousers ? " 
" I don't know." " Why did you take all those things 
out from Mr. Petrie's kitchen, Tom ? " "I done it for a 
change." " Where did you put them ? " " I don't know," 
After some more — " Well, I will have to. take you to the 
lock-up," and the hand-cuffs were put on. Going along, 
the poor fellow began twisting the irons about on his wrists, 
then suddenly exploding with laughter he said, " Oh, my 
country, they don't fit ! " The Police Magistrate could get 
nothing further from Tom than " I done it for a change," 
so in the end he was declared to be insane, and there being 
no asylum in Queenland, was sent to Sydney. The kitchen 
utensils' hiding place was discovered in this wise : The 
ferryman crossing the river came upon a couple of articles 
floating, so it was at once thought that the whole lot had been 
thrown into the water, and an old blackfellow, " Bentobin," 
a head Brisbane man, was got to pick up " Cranky Tom's " 
tracks, which he did very soon, and some of the things were 
recovered by him diving. They had been thrown in just 
where the steamer from Humpybong now lands her passengers. 
Another man who worked at the same time as " Cranky 
Tom " was " Deaf Mickey," a small man, who was also half 
silly, like Tom. Whenever he got his wages on the Saturday 
he would go to the store, and buy a week's supply of rations, 
then repair to the old windmill (as it was then called, being 
in disuse), and camp there tUl his fare ran out. Every day 
between meals he walked some two hundred yards from the 
mill into the bush backwards and forwards speaking to 
himself, and " squaring up " to a gum tree, which stood 
at the end of his walk, putting up his fists as though to fight 


it, talking all the time. He made quite a plain beaten track 
to the tree, and "go when you liked," says my- father, 
" you would see Mickey walking up and down and fighting 
with the gum tree." 

Mickey had a quart pot and pint for his tea, and also a 
bag to hold his rations. When the latter were finished he 
would go back to his master and say, " Be the Lord I 
have been walking about this long time looking for work 
and can't get any ; please will you give me a job ? " Then 
he would work again for another week. He was not a bad 
worker, but could never be depended on for more than a 
fortnight at a time before he was off again to fight the trees. 
It was " as good as a play," my father says, to see Mickey 
and " Cranky Tom " crosscutting a log — ^many a time he 
watched the pair. The latter would call, " Mickey, pull the 
saw — you are not pulling it," and laugh at him. His com- 
peinion would stare with not a smile on his face, then say, 
" I think you're cranky," and Tom would reply, " Oh, my 
country, I think you're gone in the head — you can't hear." 
Father would sometimes watch the two unseen, and sometimes 
from pure " devilment " would egg them on to one another. 

Once Mickey was sent to Moreton Island to work at a build- 
ing there. It was thought that being away from stores, 
he would keep on longer. However, at the end of a fortnight 
he took it into his head to walk to Sydney, and disappeared 
for that purpose. No one troubled over him, all feeling 
sure that he would turn up again when the rations he had 
taken were finished. It was said that in a week's time 
he came back, having evidently walked about the island, 
and going to his former employer, said, " Be the Lord I 
have been walking all over the country looking for work, and 
can't find any ; please will you give me a job ? " He was 
put to work, but the manager took the first opportunity 
of sending him back to Brisbane, fearing something might 
happen the man when he took it into his head to go off again. 
Poor Mickey's end was also the asylum. " I think," says 
my father, " that both ' Deaf Mickey ' and " Cranky Tom ' had 
been knocked silly in Logan's time with the punishment 
they got in those days. They both seemed harmless poor 


<;haps." There is much which is indeed pathetic in this 
•world, mixed side by side with the comical. 

Another of these " Old Hands " was a man called Daley, 
who was fond of " going on the spree." One night the Petrie 
boys found this man, very far gone, lying in the yard, so 
what did they do after some discussion but go to the carpen- 
ter's shop and get a coffin, and this they carried to Daley 
and put him in it. In the morning the young jokers got 
up early to see the fun, and going to where they had 
left the coffin, found the man sitting up in his grue- 
some bed talking to himself. They heard him say 
before they burst out laughing and roused his anger — " Oh, 
Henie, I wonder how long I've been buried." " Henie " 
was a favourite word with him, and the boys called him 
nothing else. Many a bit of fun they had with this man. 
At another time they nearly frightened him out of his senses 
by stuffing his old clothes with shavings, and hanging the 
figure to a beam in his doorway. Coming home half drunk, 
" Henie " thought, of course, some one had committed 
suicide, and he bolted. The boys had made the figure most 
natural looking, with boots and hat and aU complete. 

Strange things happened in those days. Old Bob, 
a sawyer (one-time convict or " old hand "), Uved at 
Kangaroo Point with his wife — they had no children. 
The wife used to " go on the spree " now and then. 
One day she was the worse for drink near her home, 
and making a great noise, so two policemen seciu"ed 
her to take her to the lockup. A ferry punt was pulled 
across the river by a rope in those days, and the police got 
the woman into this punt to take her to the north side. 
When about to land, the man who held Mrs. Bob let go 
to hold the rope, and the woman immediately jumped over 
into the water. However, she was dragged back again, 
and lay down in the punt a wet heap, saying, " If you want 
to take me to the lockup, you will have to carry me, for devil 
the foot will I walk." The instruments of the law were 
compelled to take her at her word, and carry her ashore, 
then, finding her still obstinate, one of them went up to 
Mr. Andrew Petrie's for a wheelbarrow ! Picture the scene ! 


The old woman was lifted into the barrow, then one man 
held her while the other wheeled, and there she sat blessing 
the police and calling them all manner of nice names; and 
following up this procession, which wended its way up the 
road which is now Queen Street, came boys and men, laughing 
and having great fun — my father among them. Can one 
imagine such a procession now in Queen Street ? The 
policemen took turns to hold and to wheel, and so they went 
on till they got about to where the Town Hall is now — ^to 
the lockup, and then the three, the victim and the victimised, 
disappeared from the eyes of the crowd, Mrs. Bob being de- 
tained some twenty-four hours for being " jolly." 

Some time after this event Bob made a bargain with 
Bill, another sawyer. He handed over his wife to Bill in 
exchange for a horse and dray. So BiU had some one to cook 
and wash for him, while Bob had a horse and dray. Pre- 
historic times, surely ! All went well for some months, 
then Bill came to Bob, who was carting wood and water 
for sale, and told him he wanted his property back again. 
Bob refused flatly, saying it was a fair bargain, and the end 
of it was he was summoned to court. My father remembers 
the case well. The court was held in a room in the old 
Government building, a little above the old archway that stood 
then in Queen Street. After the evidence was taken on 
both sides, the Police Magistrate said that Bob had to give 
up the horse and dray, and take his wife back. " Yer worship," 
Bob said to him, " I don't think it's right that I should 
have to give up the horse and dray, as it was a fair, honest 
bargain." The magistrate repUed, " Man, you are not 
allowed to seU your wife, and you must do as I say." So 
it was done. And, strange to relate, the pair seemed to 
live very happily together for years after this. A kinder 
and cleaner woman one could meet nowhere when away 
from drink, and no one who called at Bob's humpy 
was allowed to pass without a meal. She was a good cook 
and an excellent washerwoman, and could do up shirts with 
any one. However, the curse of drink on both sides told 
its tale, and when old age came the couple had to repair 


to Dunwich, where they died some years back, taking their 

story with them. 

Before leaving these days, I should hke to mention a 

peculiar habit the " old hands," sawyers, etc., had when 

boiling their tea in the bush. There were no " bilUes " 

then, but quart pots were used, and invariably two little 

sticks were placed crosswise across the pot. This was done to 

draw the tea, they said, and the men saw nothing strange 

in the habit. 


Milton graveyard (where Grandfather Petrie was buried) 
seems a thing of the far past now, but there was a cemetery 
older still. It was on the opposite side of the street to where 
the coal shoots are now at Roma Street Station. There 
the prisoners and soldiers were buried. Before that again North 
Quay had been used, but not sufficiently to be called a ceme- 
tery. When the place at Roma street was disused four or five 
men were set to dig up, the graves, and the bones were moved 
to Milton. One of these men (his companions related after- 
wards), a little stout Irishman, coming to a coffin lid, raised 
it, and exposure to the air caused an old gray cap on the 
skeleton to fall to pieces. Throwing up his hands, the frigh- 
tened Pat exclaimed, as he recovered himself, " My good 
soul, keep your cap on ; I'm a poor man like yourself." 
This Pat, it was said, used to take the coffin boards home 
to his cottage in the VaUey, and with them he put up a 
fine skiUion. The boards were cedar, £md quite sound, 
although some had been underground for a number of years. 
And so the big place we now call the Valley had its beginning. 


With a Few Specimens of Aboriginal Vocabulary 

(For the benefit of those unacquainted with the form of spelling used, English spelling 
given in brackets in cases of some difference). 


Native Name. 

Native Meaning. 

" Murrumba " (T. Petrie's Home- 




North Pine Kippa Ring (near 



Leech — sitting down. 

Portion of North Pine River, near 

Railway Bridge 

Mandin (Mundin) 

Fishing net. 

Small Island (T. Petrie's) below 

" Murrumba " 

Gumpu (Goompu) 

Site of former lagoon in paddock 

near gatekeeper's. North Pine 

Yimbun (Yimboon) 


Creek below " Murrumba " 

Yibri (Yebri) 

Put or lay it down 

Spring below Inverpine, NorthPine 


Present place. 

Pocket in River above Inverpint 



Big hill near Petrie's Pocket 


Stone — stone. 

Cottage Hill, mouth of Pine 

(Petrie's Pocket) 

Andurba (Undurba) 

Sandy Point, mouth of Pine, north 




Scott's Point, Humpyboug 


White clay — getting it. 

Another Point, Humpybong 

Warun (Waroon) 

Redcliffe (part of) 


Blood— blood(red Uke blood) 

RedcUfie (part of) 


Spotted gum. 

Caboolture . . 


Place of carpet snakes. 

Caboolture (Bribie dialect) 


Same meaning. 



Small place. 

Stony Creek, Narangba . . 


Neurum Neurum Creek . . 

Nuram Nuram 

Wart — wart. 

Two small mountains above De- 




Sideling Creek 


Mt. Samson 

Buran (Boorun) 


Samson Vale 


Rush Creek 


Brown's Creek 




From Kupi, an opossum. 

D. L. Brown's land, Samford . . 


Straight stretch of water, Enoggera 

near saleyards 


Leg (shin). 

Mt. Coot-tha 


Dark native honey. 

Moggill Creek 

Maggil (Moggil) 

Large water lizard. 

Toowong (near Railway Station) 

Baneraba (Bunaraba] 

Bend in River below Indooroopilly 



Black goat-sucker (bird). 



Native Name. 

Native Meaning. 

Site of Railway Bridge, Indooroo- 



Site of Regatta Hotel, Toowong. . 

Jo-ai Jo-ai 

Indooroopilly should be .. 




Rain coming. 

West End 

Kurilpa (Kureelpa) 

Place for rats. 

Woolloongabba should be 


Mt. Cotton (near Mt. Petrie) . . 

Tungipin (Toongipin) 

West wind. 

Mt. Gravatt 


Porcupine Resort. 

Norman Creek 

Kulpurum (Kool- 

Kuwirmandadu (Koo- 

Hemmant (Wynnum dialect) . . 

Place for curlew. 


Mt. Hant (Logan dialect) . . 






Dumben (Doomben) 

New Farm 


Place of the land tortoise. 

White's mil 

Bulimba (Boolimba) 


Tugulawa, known to 

Shape of heart (indicating 

Queensland Rail- 

river bend at that spot). 

way authorities as 




Place of oaks. 

Wooloowin should be 


Hill, Garrick's house, Bowen 

Bridge Road 

Gilbumpa (Gilboom- 

Exhibition and Hospital . . 

Walan (Woolan) 

Bream (fish). 





Breakfast Creek 





Breakfast Creek, near Railway 



Boggy Creek, Eagle Farm . . 


Petrie's Bight 



Nanda (Nunda) 

Chain of water holes. 

Nundah (race course) 


Nundah (site of former German 





Open sheet of water, or river. 


Murgin Murgin 

Tingalpa . . 


Place of fat. 

Amity Point 


Swan Bay 




St. Helena 


Mud Island 

Bangamba (Bung- 

Green Island 




Native Name. 

Native Meaning. 

Stradbroke Island, near South 

Psissage .... 


Cape Moreton 





Dunwich . . 


Moreton Island 

Mulganpin (Moolgun- 



Coochimudlo Island 


Red stone. 






Brisbane (Garden Point from the 

Mi-an-jin (Me-an-jin) 

Bridge round to Creek Street, 

taking in the settlement) . . 

Gympie (Wide Bay dialect) .. 


Stinging tree. 

Pialba (Wide Bay dialect) 


Butcher bird. 

Noosa Head 


Rising or climbing up' 

Portion of Scrub at Maloolah 



Nambour . . 
Bndderim Mountain 
Toorbal Point 


. .1 Nambour 1 

. . Badderam 
. . Yandinna 
. . I Ningi-Ningi 

Tea-tree bark. 


Small Place of water. 


White Patch 

Oyster Camp Reserve 

Long Island 

Glass Mountain Creek 

Coochin Creek 









Stone — standing up. 

Red paint. 


Birwa (Beerwah) — up in sky 
Bir-barram (Beer-burrum) — ^parrot 
Ngulun-Barung — neck crooked 

Kudna-war-un — ^neck crooked 
Chibur-kakan (Chebur-kakan) — squirrel biting . . 
Tnnba-bula-bula — mountain two . . 
Yinni — ^lawyer cane 

Brisbane dialect. 
Maroochy dialect, 
Brisbane dialeet. ' 

Maroochy dialect 
Brisbane dialect. 
Maroochy dialect. 
Maroochy dialect. 


Tree or Plant. 

Native Name. 

Scientific Name. 

Bunya Pine 

Bon-yi (Bon-yee) 

Araucaria Bidwillii. 

Pine similar to New Zealand 

Cowrie . . 


Agathis Robusta. 

Cyprus Pine 


Callitris Columellaris 

Moreton Bay Pine .. 


Araucaria Cunninghamii. 

Red Ironbark 


Eucalyptus Siderophloia. 

Ironbark (narrow leaved) . . 


Eucalyptus Crebra. 

Blue Gum 


Eucalyptus Tereticomis . 

Spotted Gum 


Eucalyptus Maculata. 



Eucalyptus Acmenioides. 



Eucalyptus Coiymbosa 

Swamp Mahogany . . 


Tristania Suaveolens. 

Fig Box 


Tristania Conferta . 

Cedar (red) 


Cedrela Toona. 

Moreton Bay Chesnut 


Castanospermum Australe. 

Moreton Bay Ash . . 


Eucalyptus Tesselaris. 



Casuarina Glauca. 

Forest Oak 


C Torulosa. 

Moreton Bay Fig 


Ficus Macrophylla. 

SmaU Fig 


Ficus Platypoda, var. Petiolaris. 

Apple Tree . . 


Angophora Intermedia. 



Acacia Glaucescens. 



Jacksonia Scoparia. 

Corkwood or " Bat Tree " . . 


Erythrine Sp. 



Brugujera Rheedii. 

Large Honeysuckle . . 

Bambara (Bumbara) 

Banksia Latifolia. 

Small Honeysuckle . . 


Banksia Amula. 

" Geebung " . . 





Pandanus Pedunculatus. 



Laportea Sp. 




Cabbage-tree Palm . . 


Livistona AustraJis. 

Common Palm 


Archontophoenix Cunninghamii 

Wattle (black) 


Acacia Cunninghamii. 

Scrub Vine 


Malaisia Tortuosa. 

Lawyer Cane 


Calamus Sp. 

Lawyer Cane (Bribie dialect) 


Vine with yellow berries 


Cudrania Javanensis. 

Scrub vine used for climbing 

Yurol (YeroU Creek 
on Stradbroke evi- 
dently same name) 

Flagellaria Indica. 

Coarse grass used for dilly 

maMng . . 


Xerotes Longifolia. 

Swampplantusedfor fish poison 


Polygonum Hydropiper. 



Alocasia Macrorrhiza. 

Large bean in scrub. . 


CanavaUa Obtusifolia. 

Swamp Fern . . 

Bangwal (Bnngwal) 

Blechnum Serrulatum. 



Typha AngustifoUa. 

WUd Yam 


Dioscorea Transversa. 

Ground Orchids 


, Caladenia Camea. 
ICaladenia Alba. 

White green-spotted berry . . 


Myrtus Tenuifolia. 


Whites' Name. 

Native Name. 


" Sara Moreton " . . 


" Catchpenny " 


Other black women . . 

' Munan 

" Bob CUft " 

" Millbong Jemmy " . . 


" King Sandy " 

" Sam " at Dunwich 







One eye. 

Wonga pigeon. 


Mouth of native bees' nest. 

" Kobban Tom " . . 

Mindi-Mindi or Kutti- 



Taylor fish. 

" Jimmy " 





Left it. 
Native honey. 
The breast. 

Other men 


Creek caught. 


















Kurumba . 



Kanggungun (Kang- 


Konggong .. 

Great man. 

Young man. 

Grown man. 






Creek or gully. 

Creek (Ipswich dia- 





Ridge (Wide Bay 

Mountain (Wide Bay 








Good (Maroochy dia- 

Laughing jackass. 
Native companion. 
Ditto (Stradbroke 

Island dialect). 





Mil .. 



Tiar (tear) 


WadU .. 



















Tabbil-yanmunna . . 

Inta tabbil balka-i 

Mianjin ngatta yar- 

Inta wanna yarrana 
Yin wanna yan man 

Common house fly. 

Track of foot. 












Sea waves. 





Grey eagle hawk. 

Black eagle hawk. 

Eagle hawk (Wide 

Bay dialect). 

Net for kangaroo. 
Net for paddymelons 

Camping place. 
Running water. 
You water, fetch it. 

Brisbane, I'm going. 
You, where going ? 
Same meaning (Wide 
Bay dialect).